'My wife said she never asked for much, so it was hard to refuse her this' - Couple's dream home on shore of Lough Sheelin
Arley’s location on the shore of the famous lake will appeal to keen anglers, writes Alison Gill
GAMBLING was the big vice of young aristocrat rakes, whose flippant hours at the card table could run up the modern equivalent of tens of millions in debt. So now and then they had to flog off a castle or two to settle the score.
In this manner the gambling indebted Waldrons passed Dromellan Castle in Co Cavan over to a Robert Maxwell who had arrived in Ireland from Scotland in the early 1600s to seek his fortune. As the Maxwells accumulated wealth, they were conferred with the title Baron Farnham and so began Cavan’s long history with the Farnhams, who became the largest landowners in the county and controlled it’s politics for many years.
Of all the land they owned, it must have been their holiday home, Arley Cottage in Mountnugent that held most sentimental value. It was sold about 30 years ago by the last Lord Farnham, and the owners say he continued to turned up to fish on the lake after the sale. The new tenants were happy to welcome him and he continued to visit until he died in 2001.
The original house had collapsed in on itself when the new owners bought the estate, but they decided to build a new home from scratch on the site of the old cottage.
“My wife saw the site and said she never asked for much, so it was hard to refuse her this one,” says the current owner. “The grounds were covered in bluebells and the perfume was overpowering, because there was little else around at that point but the flowers. When the builders started building, my wife practically lay on the ground to protect them. As a result, there is a stained-glass window with bluebells in the hall that the builders made for my wife in honour of her protest.”
There were many happy years had at this home for the family, including three weddings in the grounds. Summers were filled with regattas, where neighbours would bring boats of all shapes and sizes that they would race around Lough Sheelin, with great humour and fun, careful to never take is seriously.
The house’s location on the lake is sure to be one of the main attractions for prospective buyers, particularly any keen anglers. Experts have calculated that the high pH factor in the water, combined with its low average depth profile, gives it a capacity to carry a bigger stock of brown trout than any other lake in Ireland. Lough Sheelin is also recorded as a Special Protection Area to support the populations of great crested grebe, pochard, tufted duck and goldeneye.
The beauty of this sale is that new owners will be getting a striking estate, but without the headache of the crumbling historic house. Sitting on 12 acres, the property was built less than 30 years ago so will only need some redecorating.
It has a floor area of 5,000 sq ft and is accessed from a tree-lined avenue, making it feel private and secure. The entrance hall houses a guest WC and storage closet. To the left is a relaxed sitting room with wooden floors and a stove. Beyond this is the drawing room with parquet flooring and bay windows to make the most of the garden views. From here, you follow into the dining room, with wooden floors and double doors out to the garden.
On the other side of the hall is the kitchen, which also links around to the dining room. The units are cream with Sematic appliances and marble worktops. There is a utility room and a conservatory leads out to the garden.
Upstairs, on the first floor there are four bedrooms, all with their own en-suite bathrooms. The second floor houses a further four bedrooms and a bathroom. With so many bedrooms, the rooms on the second floor could easily be used as a home office, games room or au pair accommodation.
A double garage is attached to the western side of the house. This has an attic which is floored for storage.
Further down by the lake there is a boathouse that can fit two vessels. There are two areas for launching boats, including a private harbour where the lake can be accessed. While vast, the gardens are not too high-maintenance. They are mostly laid in lawn with beds and shrubs. There is a mature wood with a network of paths for a pleasant stroll. The woods have a variety of deciduous and evergreen trees, as well as fauna, adding an array of colour throughout the seasons. Nestled in a secluded part of the grounds is a duck pond. There is also plenty of potential for a vegetable garden or play area for kids to the western side of the house.
The opening of the M3 in 2010, made Cavan a lot more accessible. A drive from Dublin Airport to Mountnugent only takes about an hour and a quarter. There’s not much in the village of Mountnugent, but Kilnaleck, which is four kilometres from Arley, has a selection of shops, pubs, doctors and a pharmacy. The larger towns of Virginia and Cavan are 18 and 22 kilometres away respectively.
In recent years, the county is becoming known as a bit of a foodie spot with Neven Maguire’s MacNean House up in Blacklion, Richard Corrigan’s newly opened Park Lodge in Virginia and the award-winning Olde Post, run by chef Gearoid Lynch in Cloverhill.
Arley is for sale through agents Savills (01) 663 4350 with an asking price of €700,000.
Asking price: €700,000
Agent: Savills Country, (01) 6634350