Wednesday 21 February 2018

Peek inside this €3.4m manor home where Hollywood legends stayed as guests

Richard Greene made his fortune wearing tights and bought a manor estate

Borleagh Manor is on the market with 160 acres
Borleagh Manor is on the market with 160 acres
The original courtyard with its ornate box and fountain features
An elegant inner hall hints at age old grandeur
The library room with its bespoke in-built shelving and cupboards and a distinctive white carved marble chimney piece
The sun room
Richard Greene as Robin Hood and Bernadette O'Farrell as Maid Marian
Mark Keenan

Mark Keenan

Throughout the 1970s Irish children marvelled at TV reruns of the 1950s British-made series, The Adventures of Robin Hood, starring Irish roots actor Richard Greene as the leading tights clad Sherwood swashbuckler himself.

Whilst the series was aimed at children, adults were also drawn to the five year-long incarnation of the popular outlaw, perhaps because there were some unexpected strengths in the scripts. These seemed well above par for a low budget small screen British foray. The writing team included at least five top drawer Hollywood script men with left leaning sentiments - each of whom had fled the USA on account of being "blacked" from the film business for "un-American activities" following the McCarthy era anti-communist hearings.

Among the refugee Robin Hood team were Ring Lardner who later wrote M*A*S*H*, Robert Lees (Abbott and Costello), Howard Koch (The War of the Worlds/Casablanca), Adrian Scott (Crossfire) and Waldo Salt (Midnight Cowboy).

The seasoned scripters, who wrote under pseudonyms, relished their clandestine roles behind the scenes and were believed to have worked a few anti-Hollywood and anti-capitalist parables into the weekly adventures.

The original courtyard with its ornate box and fountain features
The original courtyard with its ornate box and fountain features

In contrast, the lead himself was nonplussed about landing himself in tights again, having just completed a long run of rapier wielding swashbuckler roles at low pay. But this time some clever merchandising ensured that the ever reliant Robin of this production eventually made his fortune.

Part of it he spent in the early 1960s acquiring Borleagh, a pocket estate at Inch outside Gorey in Co Wexford which comes with a 1770s-built mini mansion. This had previously been in the Quin family more or less since it was built. Greene took an active role in Irish rural life, heading up the local fox hunt and becoming involved in other society activities before selling up in the 1970s.

Borleagh Manor was later acquired in 1986 by Malachy Stone who sold it on in 1996. And he subsequently bought it back in 2004 before taking it to market yet again 10 years later. In 2014 he had offered it for a hefty €4.75m but that proved too much even for a reviving country homes market. Today it's back on the market again with 160 acres and for a more reasonable €3.4m - having had €1.35m knocked off the price.

The house, which was extensively remodelled in the 1840s to its current form (almost to the point of being completely rebuilt) is approached through imposing pillared gates via a 1km long avenue of beech trees and post and railed parkland. It faces east with views over its own park, with glimpses of the sea in the distance and views of Croghan Mountain to the north.

There's quite a stately reception hall with limestone flagged floor and pillared arch. This leads to the inner hall with a wide hand-carved and turned staircase rising to the upper floor. The drawing room is a bow ended affair with arched recesses and a delicate marble chimney piece. On the other side of the reception hall is the formal dining room.

The open-plan fitted kitchen/dining/family room is the day to day social hub of this house with a polished timber floor, exposed timber beamed ceiling, fitted wall and floor units and a matching pair of two oven oil-fired Alpha cookers. There is also a central island with a Belfast sink and a specially designed feature fridge/freezer and general storage unit, plus an adjoining butler's pantry.

The library room with its bespoke in-built shelving and cupboards and a distinctive white carved marble chimney piece
The library room with its bespoke in-built shelving and cupboards and a distinctive white carved marble chimney piece

The library room comes with an arresting chimney piece and walls lined with shelves. Double doors lead to the sun room which in turn opens out into the gardens, these are laid out in terraces and lawns as well as tennis courts.

Upstairs are three large double bedrooms, two of which have en-suite bathrooms and there is a separate guest bathroom. Also off this landing is the master bedroom suite with a double bedroom, a separate WC with wash basin, an en-suite shower room with matching Jack and Jill marble topped vanity units inset with antique style wash basins and half panelled walls. This in turn opens out into the walk-in dressing room with custom made mahogany open wardrobes, shelving and storage.

Downstairs at garden level is a games room, wine cellar with bins, a billiard room, a study, a wc and various utility rooms. Also included are two other houses. A pretty thatched guest cottage (1,572 sq ft) is set a short distance from the main house and overlooks the lake. And there's also a restored two-bed gardener's cottage of 800 sq ft.

The lofted courtyard has ornate box hedging and a fountain. The courtyard houses 15 loose boxes, a feed house, tack room, workshop and a staff canteen and office. A secondary courtyard has 15 loose boxes. an American barn with 10 loose boxes and rooms. There's also a coach house. The estate has a man-made brown trout lake of 1 acre.

Guests over the years have included Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. But most importantly, Borleagh Manor was good… for Robin Hood.

Borleagh Manor

Richard Greene as Robin Hood and Bernadette O'Farrell as Maid Marian
Richard Greene as Robin Hood and Bernadette O'Farrell as Maid Marian

Inch, Gorey, Co Wexford

Asking price: €3.4m

Agent: Colliers (01) 6333700

Indo Property

Promoted Links

Life Newsletter

Our digest of the week's juiciest lifestyle titbits.

Promoted Links

Editors Choice

Also in Life