Outdoor kitchen, award-winning garden and indoor cinema... this is an Irish home with a difference
With award-winning gardens and expertly crafted interiors, San Lorenzo is on the market for €1.1m
San Lorenzo sits on a hill overlooking the historic ruins of Monasterboice. Dating back to the 9th century, Monasterboice was one of Ireland's earliest Christian sites.
The ruins include a round tower that was not only used as a belfry and a beacon for pilgrims, but also as a place of refuge for the monks from Viking raids. It currently stands at 92ft high, but may have been as tall as 108ft before it lost its conical roof.
It's also home to what are arguably the finest high crosses in Ireland. One of them, Muiredach's Cross, dates to the 10th century and contains 62 carvings from the Old and New Testaments. Historians believe is may have been built for educational purposes.
The owners of San Lorenzo were aware of how special the surrounding area was when they bought the land in the heart of the 'ancient east' and have spent over 20 years making their home a refuge for themselves, their family and friends.
They bought a site with full planning permission back in 1993 and followed those plans for their first house. A few years later they decided to 'rejig' the house to make it more suited to their needs.
"When we started developing the land it was bare and barren, just a field," says the owner. "We developed it, little by little ourselves and eventually brought Andrew Christopher Dunne on board."
The first thing Dunne, a multi-award-winning garden designer, was asked to do was to turn a disused and battered tennis court into a walled garden of sorts.
His solution far exceeded the brief, with the result being a large open-sided garden pavilion, complete with bespoke outdoor kitchen and bar, with a log-burning stove and outdoor sofa.
It came as no surprise to the owners when the space was awarded Ireland's Best Private Garden in 2012 because they knew how hard Dunne had worked on the job.
"I had the pleasure of designing and constructing three distinct gardens at San Lorenzo over a five-year period," says Dunne. "The largest of which was a contemporary take on the traditional walled garden and was designed to replace a pre-loved tennis court.
"As well as the contemporary pavilion area, the garden also features a Victorian-style glasshouse and bespoke steel sculpture."
But Dunne didn't stop there. Behind the house, he designed a waterfall that runs into a pond that is covered by wrought -iron grates in a wave design.
At the top of the water feature is a wooden and glass garden room that is wired and has a WC. This garden also won an award of merit in 2010 from the Association of Landscape Contractors of Ireland. Dunne named this part of the garden the 'tranquility-aligned' space. And a peaceful area it must be because it has been used in the past for practicing yoga and meditation, as well as quiet study and research.
The gardens are still in pristine condition, but the vendors say that there was so much more that they planned to do and would hope that a new owner could make even more of them by growing their own vegetables and maybe keep some hens.
Inside the 6,600sq ft property, there are four bedrooms and eight bathrooms over three storeys. The entrance hall gives you a taste of what lies beyond with its polished tiled floor and spiral staircase that leads to the main living areas on the second and third floors.
On the ground floor is a large utility room, which includes a sauna and steam shower. On the opposite side is the cinema room with a home bar. There is also access to a covered walkway that leads to the carport.
All of the living space is on the first floor. This includes a kitchen with pantry; a living room that leads into a formal diningroom; a family room that has access to a patio area; a drawing room that would be the ideal pre-dinner drinks spot; and a study for a home office.
The second floor has four bedrooms, all of which are ensuite. The master bedroom takes up half of the living area on this floor and has a balcony that overlooks that gardens, two dressing areas, a jacuzzi bath, a make-up room and a second smaller bathroom. The front bedroom has a balcony Velux window to make the most of the views.
The house sits on 3.5 acres of land that has been laid out and designed in a way that most people could only dream of. As well as the professionally landscaped areas, there are also sloping lawns and a small wooded area with willow trees. There is a garage to the rear of the garden that can be accessed by a second gate. The property also has a private well, septic tank, rainwater harvester, and electronic gates with video intercom and monitored CCTV.
The location of San Lorenzo would make this an ideal home for commuters who are going either north or south. It's about 10 minutes from the motorway going south and two minutes from the motorway going north, making Dublin a 50-minute journey and Belfast just over an hour. Drogheda is about 10 minutes away, while Dunleer, is about seven minutes by car. The vendors say they will be sad to leave it but are ready for the next phase of their lives.
"We believe we were only guardians of this land and it's time to pass it on to a new family now. We lived a very quiet and peaceful life here. This was our sanctuary from the outside world."
San Lorenzo, New Line, Monasterboice, Co Louth is on the market seeking offers in excess of €1.1m through Smith Harrington Auctioneers (046 902 1113).