Putting the Kittle on
Modern cruciform house was inspired by Killeen Castle's period gate lodge
More than 800 years ago, in 1181, Hugh de Lacy built the original Killeen Castle in Dunsany, Co Meath as part of the strategic castle defence system for North Leinster. From the early 15th century until the 1950s, the castle was the seat of the Earls of Fingall, the Plunkett Family, to whom it passed through marriage. But it fell into disrepair at various times when the family had to absent themselves for reasons of self-preservation.
The 12th and last Earl of Fingall sold the castle to Sir Victor Sassoon in 1951, after which it was run as a stud farm for a number of years, before being sold to the French racehorse owner and art collector Daniel Wildenstein. In the 1960s, the American film director, John Huston, filmed scenes for Casino Royale at Killeen Castle, when it served as the location for Castle McTarry.
Ownership subsequently passed to advertising man, Basil Brindley, but the castle was largely destroyed by fire in 1981.
Its current owners have developed the estate as a golf resort, with a Jack Nicklaus-designed course, and restored the castle as a reconstruction of a largely 19th-century construction.
One of the gate lodges serving Killeen Castle served as the inspiration for the design of Kittle Gate Lodge, a modern cruciform house built in 2015, that is as smart and shiny as a new pin and ready for new owners to move right in.
One of the things they will probably want to do is make themselves a cup of tea, which is what the vendors did too - hence the unusual name of the house, called after the first thing that they unpacked and put to work: the 'kittle'.
Kittle Gate Lodge has 2,045 sq ft of living space arranged over two floors, and it is clear that the owners put a huge amount of thought into the interior layout, with every last detail agonised over. They did not stint when it came to selecting quality fittings and finishes, including windows and French doors by Munster Joinery and the bespoke teak front door. The result is neutrally stylish and tasteful, with nothing to offend prospective purchasers and plenty to enchant.
The house sits behind a stand of tall silver beam trees, in a quiet cul-de-sac just off the main Trim/Dublin road at Kilteel; one enters through handmade wrought iron gates with Irish blue limestone piers and capping.
The entrance hall leads on to the open-plan living/kitchen/dining room, with hand-painted cream units and solid oak countertops surrounding a classic Rangemaster electric cooker, also in cream. The central island is topped in silestone, and the ceramic sink is fitted with a filtered water tap.
Integrated appliances include an eco-dishwasher and LG American fridge-freezer, and there is an oak-lined larder unit. Two sets of French doors lead out to the wraparound garden, and there is a separate utility room with a fitted washing machine.
One of the three bedrooms - the master - is on the ground floor, and it has its own spacious dressing room featuring a hand-painted bespoke vanity unit and fitted wall-to-wall wardrobes, with dedicated shoe storage and shelving. The ensuite shower-room has a power shower with tropical jet and two shower heads, and there is a separate lavatory.
A feature staircase with oak steps and handrail leads to the first floor, where the galleried landing has a feature picture window and panelled walls.
On the first floor are two further bedrooms, both doubles. One has a built-in seven-door wardrobe, and there is a Stira stairs leading to the attic space. The family bathroom has a slipper-style free-standing roll-top bath on a pedestal, and there is a separate double shower.
The heating is oil-fired, with a modern condensing boiler, and solar panels on the roof contribute to a toasty B2 BER.
Outside, the garden is maturing nicely and a gravel area to the rear is designed for eating out of doors.
The village of Kilteel is within walking distance, and described by locals as vibrant, with a pre-school and primary school, a shop/petrol station and a GAA club that is at the heart of the community. The two main employers in the village are Teagasc and the EU Veterinary Clinic.
Yet despite the distinctly rural feel, there is a frequent bus service into Dublin city centre, as well as a Park and Ride facility at the M3 Parkway (Little Pace) linking to the train service to Connolly Station. Local children get the bus to secondary schools in either Trim or Dunshaughlin.
Maguire's Coffee Shop at the interpretative centre at the Hill of Tara is a popular local meeting spot, and there are plenty of restaurants and bars in Trim and Dunshaughlin.
Kittle Gate Lodge
Kiltale, Dunsany Co Meath
Asking price: €500,000
Agent: Sherry Fitzgerald Royal (046) 9431525