Postcard pretty Quinville Abbey in Co. Clare can be yours for €1.45m
Quinville Abbey, Quin Co. Clare
Quinville Abbey is situated just outside the postcard-pretty village of Quin, near Ennis in Co Clare. It is a magnificent family house that has been fully refurbished by its current owners, who bought it in 1992 and are now downsizing.
The original house dates from the 1700s and started off as a Georgian country residence, built by the Singleton family who moved to Ireland from Lancashire in the late 17th Century. The family went on to make their fortune from a mining technology that they developed and which was used to extract lead and silver from the mines at nearby Kilbricken, where the geological conditions made the valuable deposits hard to access.
In the late 1820s, John Singleton commissioned the Pain brothers to redesign the mansion. James and George Pain were the architects responsible for Lord Inchiquin's magnificent home at Dromoland Castle nearby, now a luxurious five- star hotel, and they set about a total overhaul of Quinville. This all but obliterated its Georgian origins and gave it a full Tudor Gothic makeover, so that to the untrained eye it seems as if it dates from the Elizabethan period.
The Pains re-orientated Quinville so that the principal rooms faced south, looking out over the fields that stretch all the way down to the village and the Franciscan friary on the banks of the Rine. Founded around 1402 by Síoda Cam MacNamara, it is one of the most intact medieval Franciscan friaries in Ireland.
Sheltered by tall trees, Quinville sits on an elevated pitch overlooking extensive lawns and is approached via a gravelled drive. There are three storeys over garden level, and approximately 836 sqm of living space in the main house. The house was in poor condition when the current owners purchased it, and in 1999/2000 they set about a comprehensive restoration that involved repairing the roof, taking the plaster off all the walls, rebuilding the chimney, and replacing the tall sash windows. The work was painstaking and carried out with sympathy and good taste as well as an eye to modern convenience. The result is that Quinville, though indisputably a very substantial house, has the feel of a family home rather than a museum.
One enters the house via a limestone-floored entrance porch added by the Pain brothers, into an entrance hall from which the original wooden staircase ascends to the upper floors. The principal reception rooms are all at entrance level: the octagonal library, the drawing room with white marble fireplace, and the dining room with black marble fireplace. There are seven en suite bedrooms between the first and second floors, and the kitchen, breakfast room, living room, office and utility room are all to be found at garden level.
The house comes with a separate gate lodge that has recently been refurbished, and with 15 acres of land that includes gardens with mature shrubbery, an orchard, rose beds and a pond, as well as walled paddocks in grass with good road frontage. In the courtyard there are unused single storey and lofted coach houses, garages and stores crying out to be refurbished and put to good use.
Quinville Abbey has been on the market for some time, and the price being quoted has dropped from €2.5m to a tempting €1.45m. Romance aside, it is a house that could be put to work in a number of different ways to help defray its running costs, and perhaps the new owners will figure out with imagination and energy how to do just that, bearing in mind that Quinville is a protected structure.
Looking at Quinville, one is reminded of a very different house, Ballyvolane in Co Cork, which is run so successfully as a small and very stylish country house hotel. It has invested in super-luxurious yurts and tents for glamping and does terrific wedding business all year round.
Shannon Airport is just a 15-minute drive from Quinville. It has good access to the motorway network, while Co Clare offers plenty in the way of tourist attractions, from the Cliffs of Moher to the karst limestone landscape of The Burren, to Lough Derg and the Wild Atlantic Way.
Agent: Savills (01) 663 4358
Viewing: Strictly by appointment