Friday 14 December 2018

Peek Inside: €1.15m Ballybaun Stud is the horsey version of a five-star hotel

Ballybaun Stud Rathnure, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford €1.15m

Ballybaun Stud is on 42.5 acres
Ballybaun Stud is on 42.5 acres
The sitting room
Dining room
Ballybaun Stud
Katy McGuinness

Katy McGuinness

Enniscorthy is the backdrop to sections of Colm Toibin's novel Brooklyn, the story of Eilis Lacey, who emigrates from the Wexford town to New York in the 1950s. The novel won the 2009 Costa prize and was long-listed for the Booker in the same year. Saoirse Ronan starred in the film adaptation, and garnered an Academy Award nomination for her performance.

Nearby lies Ballybaun Stud, a modestly-sized period house (thought to have been built in the 1920s or 30s) rather than a stately pile, the home of a breeder of thoroughbred racehorses, who now plans to retire to his native Germany.

Ballybaun comes with 42.5 acres of land, including gardens and high-quality grazing land, which is well laid out, partly stud-railed and surrounded by mature hedging. There is easy access to and from the main equestrian yard.

The house has the classic proportions of a simple Georgian or early Victorian farm house, and may in fact be a restoration of an earlier house; the current owner bought Ballybaun in 1994, carried out a substantial renovation of his own, and spent summers there with his family, but does not know much about the history of the house. The previous owners told him that it had been a mill at one stage.

The current owner says that he was attracted to Ballybaun by the scenic location at the foot of the Blackstairs Mountains, with two rivers close by, as well as by the proximity of the house to the stables.

Ballybaun overlooks the stud and its farmland, and has 260sqm of living space, decorated in a traditional style. On the ground floor, a large reception hall has a feature staircase leading to the first floor. To the left is a dual-aspect entertaining space, with a drawing room to the front and bar area to the rear, while to the right of the entrance hall is the more relaxed living space, with the dining room and family room linked to the kitchen. In all, the house has five open fireplaces.

On the first floor, there are four double bedrooms and a family bathroom. The spacious master bedroom has an en suite bathroom and walk-in wardrobe. To the rear of the main house is separate staff accommodation, with a kitchen/living space, bedroom and bathroom.

Among the notable horses associated with Ballybaun are the mare 'Savage' by 'Polish Patriot', which the current owner bought in Ireland to kick-start his breeding programme.

At the age of two, Savage won the Sierstorpff- Rennen and Badener Jugendpreis titles in Germany, and came second in the Group 2 Moet Chandon Rennen in Baden-Baden.

Out of Savage, the breeder bred the stallion 'Sentinelese' by 'Cape Cross', which was bought by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's Godolphin. The horse was a group-winner in Deauville, and also won in Dubai before being forced to retire due to injury.

Also out of Savage, came the stallion 'Soul City' by 'Elusive City', who won the Listed Prix Francois Boutin, Group 3 Prix La Rochette and the lucrative Goff's Million at the age of two.

At the age of three he was third in the Irish 2,000 Guineas and is now at stud in France.

If there is such a thing as luck associated with a stud farm, then Ballybaun has plenty of it. Perhaps it has something to do with the luxurious standard of the accommodation, which is exceptional - the horsey version of a five-star hotel.

The equestrian facilities at Ballybaun lie to the east of the house and are well laid out, with an immaculate courtyard of 14 loose boxes, an indoor sand menage for lunging, and four further loose boxes for mares and their foals. In addition, there is a four-bay machinery shed and a hay barn to the rear of the main yard, plus a large sand arena, a further tool shed, and storage areas with an office above the courtyard.

Enniscorthy lies on the Dublin-Rosslare train line, and the town has four second-level schools, and a number of primary schools, as well as sports and leisure facilities such as a swimming pool/recreation centre, rugby and GAA clubs, an 18-hole golf course and freshwater fishing. Horse-riding and hunting are popular in the area.

Wexford town, 20 minutes' drive south, is home to the National Opera House, which attracts visitors from all over the world to the annual Wexford Festival Opera, and is currently in progress. Dublin is 137km away, the journey due to shorten further with the opening of the new M11 extension that will bypass Enniscorthy.

Agent: Sherry FitzGerald Country (01) 237 6308 and Sherry FitzGerald O'Leary Kinsella (053) 9237322

Sunday Independent

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