Saturday 23 February 2019

This distinctive home at Mount Juliet stands on almost an acre, and is next door to a paddock with contented horses

Ideal for those who like to divide time between city and course life

The grand entrance hall
The grand entrance hall
9 Foxes Covert measures 5,645 sq ft
The Manor House at Mount Juliet
The living room
The kitchen
The staircase
The Jack Nicklaus-designed 18-hole golf course at Mount Juliet
The top floor snooker/games room
The 18-hole golf course
Katy McGuinness

Katy McGuinness

How much do you like your golf? Would you orient your life around it?

The Tiger years (both Woods and Celtic) saw a new departure for golf enthusiasts in Ireland with the development of a number of world-beating new courses and the arrival of the golf lifestyle scheme so that enthusiasts would literally live on or beside the course.

Well known among these schemes of golf oriented luxurious homes - which evolved a villa design style all of their own - are those arrayed around the course at Mount Juliet in Kilkenny.

The Foxes Covert retreat was one of those designed at Mount Juliet for residents who like to split their lives between city and course living. For a committed golfer, be they with a growing family or heading towards retirement, they're a tempting proposition. Number 9 has come to market for €1.4m through Hooke & MacDonald following on the recent sale of a smaller three-bed-plus-study house at Number 16 for €1.1m through the same agency.

The Manor House at Mount Juliet
The Manor House at Mount Juliet

Originally Mount Juliet was the home of one William Walton, a local landowner and later it was purchased by Somerset Hamilton Butler, the son of the first Earl of Carrick, and his wife, Juliet Boyle, daughter of the Earl of Shannon, in 1755. The couple spent her dowry - the not insignificant sum of £5,000 (several million euros in today's money) on refurbishing and extending the property, and moved into it in 1760.

The estate and the Georgian house were purchased by the Killeen Group in 1987 which transformed it into a hotel, stud, golf course and residential developments like the Foxes Covert. More recently Tetrarch Capital, which bought the Mount Juliet estate from Killeen five years ago, has invested significant sums of money in upgrading the hotel as well as in building new accommodation at Hunter's Yard. Tetrarch, incidentally, is named after a horse - The Tetrarch - who was never beaten in seven races as a two-year-old (he was injured and did not run again) and was known as "The Spotted Wonder". He was the foundation of Ballylinch Stud on the estate and is buried in the grounds.

In total there are approximately 90 private residences on the estate, the majority of them constructed within the past 25 years. Number 9 dates from 2001, and is a distinctive detached house with two bay windows standing on a site of almost an acre, next door to a paddock in which contented horses graze, making it a 'best of both worlds' proposition.

Designed by Jack Nicklaus, the 18-hole golf course at Mount Juliet is regarded as one of the best in the country, with a newly-developed clubhouse and, for those whose game is not up to par, The Paul McGinley Golf Academy, an advanced golf training facility where the Trackman golf swing analysis software and numerous driving bays should ensure progress in the right direction.

The house has 5,645 sq ft of living space (more than five times the size of an average semi) and an integrated garage to the rear. Tall ceilings and an abundance of large windows give a bright and roomy feel, and there is a nice flow of space from room to room.

On the ground floor, the large entrance hall features a wide and elegant staircase leading to the first floor. Either side of the hall are a large reception room and the main bedroom, both with bay windows. The master is en suite - as are all the bedrooms - and there is a further double bedroom at this level, as well as a self-contained suite of rooms off the hall which comprise a study, utility room, wine cellar and garage.

The living room
The living room

The open-plan living area is on the first floor, from where the views over the estate and surrounding countryside are best. The dining room features a bay window, as does the bedroom, which has a walk-in wardrobe and adjacent study. On the top floor there are a snooker/games room, bathroom and bedroom.

For those not drawn to the pursuit of the little white ball - and there are plenty who agree with Mark Twain that a round of golf is just a good walk spoiled - the Mount Juliet Estate offers a range of alternative activities to keep residents fit and occupied. The Equestrian Centre caters for everything from basic tuition to trail riding and cross country. A number of residents also keep horses at livery on the estate.

Elsewhere on the estate is an archery range, salmon and trout fishing on the River Nore, falconry demonstrations, and a Health Club with a 15-metre heated swimming pool and treatment suites.

For residents not minded to cook for themselves, the dining options on the estate include The Hound, located at the new Hunter's Yard development, and of course the Lady Helen in the Manor House, which holds a Michelin star and offers a fine-dining experience.

Kilkenny city is also home to another Michelin-starred restaurant, Campagne, where Garrett Byrne's excellent French-influenced food should not to be missed.

At the back gate to the estate is a station on the Dublin-Waterford line, making Foxes Covert an easy rail commute to the capital. The Mount Juliet Estate is approximately 20 minutes from Kilkenny, 30 minutes from Waterford and just over one hour from Dublin.

The kitchen
The kitchen

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