Peek inside Brookville House in Naas on the market for €1.8m
Brookville House returns from the slump after refurbishment
Back in October 2008, when Brookville House last went under the hammer, the price of €1.55m achieved was reported as evidence of a slump in the grand old house property market. For a Georgian home on 180ac, the price was seen as something of a bargain.
The then-purchasers set about a full refurbishment of the two-storey property, located on what the then vendors had described as an "old gentleman's estate, unspoilt by time".
Now Brookville is back on the market and goes to auction on June 22 with an AMV of €1.8m. Owners of other grand old houses that are surplus to requirements, and who have been holding off to see if the market would rally, will be looking on with interest to see how it does.
Back in 2008, Brookville's last resident had been Willa Doreen Mather, who was single and an only child. She had been born in 1917, shortly after the death of her father, Edward William Mather, in the Somme.
He is buried at Amiens in France and fell while serving with the 1st Northumberland Field Company, Royal Engineers.
Edward Mather was just 29 when he died and had worked as an engineer in Mexico in mining and railway work before he joined up with the rank of second lieutenant. His mother was Ada Bor from nearby Ballindoolin House, a somewhat grander home with four bays and three storeys over basement built out of local limestone.
The Mathers were Protestants who had come to Ireland from Paisley in Scotland, but lived in the Carbury area for many years. According to local historian, Martin Kelly, a Thomas Mather owned the farm in 1720.
Brookville House dates from 1732 and must have been built by a member of the Mather family. At least one of the Mathers converted to Catholicism at some stage - presumably for love and marriage - and there are families with the name Mather in the area to this day.
It is a fine house in a tranquil setting protected by stands of mature hardwood trees, with the surrounding estate enclosed by natural hedgerows.
The River Garr runs in front of the house and through the land, and on a sunny day it is the epitome of bucolic loveliness, the kind of landscape across which one can imagine love interests galloping in a BBC period drama.
The house is accessed through original stone piers and via a long curved gravel drive in a parkland setting. To the rear is an attractive stone courtyard with outhouses, coach houses, stables, barns and ancillary buildings, all with granite cornerstones, window and door surrounds, and slate roofing.
The lands surrounding the house are all in pasture and have undergone the equivalent of a refurbishment of their own since the current owners took over, having been drained extensively and reseeded, with new farm roads laid. The farm is very much in working order and suitable for a wide variety of purposes.
In an interview given by Willa Mather before she died in 2007, she said that the Mathers were ahead of their time when it came to mechanisation on the farm and there was a long tradition of milling associated with Brookville. There remain traces of an old water mill and grain kiln on the land.
Since its restoration, Brookville has become a luxurious country house, with five ensuite bedrooms, along with an entrance hall, sitting room, drawing room, kitchen/dining room, TV room, utility office boot room and cloakroom.
The house is in excellent condition, with attractive features such as working window shutters, newly installed sash windows, a deep-thread staircase with mahogany banister, and solar panels.
The period feel remains, with some open fires and cast-iron and marble fireplaces, dado rails and tongue and groove panelling, but the addition of modern comforts makes it an ideal family home. There is a dual fuel heating system and the house is alarmed, while water is from Brookville's own well.
Outside, there is an almost-intact walled garden, which will appeal to anyone with a yen to try their hand at self-sufficiency, offering the alluring prospect of keeping hens and pigs, and growing fruit and vegetables. As well as the stone courtyard, there is a working farmyard with cattle and machinery sheds.
Carbury Hill is of some historic interest as it is the site of two Bronze Age barrows, a motte and a tower house, while Carbury Castle dates back to the Normans, although the existing ruins are from a 17th century edifice. Edenderry is the nearest town, with good shopping and a selection of primary and secondary schools.
For dedicated commuters who are prepared to rise early to beat the traffic, Brookville offers the alluring prospect of living in a grand country house on 180ac and working in Dublin for the price of a modest enough house in Foxrock.
Carbury, Co Kildare
Asking price: €1.8m
Agent: REA Coonan ( 01) 628 8400