Tipperary home with fields that once nurtured a Grand National winner on the market for €1.1m
Longstone Stud, Cullen, Co Tipperary Asking price: €1.1m
Myrtle Allen of Ballymaloe is often quoted as saying that a certain field always produced good butter. If the same can be said of horses - as surely it must - then the fields belonging to Longstone Stud have (in horsey parlance) got form.
It was here at Longstone that former race-horse trainer John Edwards trained Supreme Glory, who started out as a point-to-pointer in Ireland and went on to win the Scottish National and finish second in the English Grand National.
"There's a 1.6 furlong all-weather round sand gallop and options for four-, five- and six-furlong grass gallops with challenging uphill terrain that are particularly good for developing stamina," he says, by way of explanation as to why Longstone is such a good place to train horses.
Edwards began his career as an amateur rider and joined Toby Balding as assistant trainer in the early 1960s, taking out his own licence in 1967. He went on to have a long and illustrious career as a trainer of race horses, with numerous Cheltenham Festival winners to his credit - along with one of its most famous runners-up, Yahoo, who challenged the legendary Desert Orchid all the way to the finish in the 1989 Gold Cup.
In recent years he has brought on a few point-to-pointers and continues to deal in bloodstock, buying race horses on behalf of clients.
Edwards and his wife, the former Lady Avena Stanhope - a daughter of the eleventh Earl of Harrington - have lived at Longstone for the past 18 years. Lady Avena's niece, Serena Stanhope, daughter of the 12th Earl, is married to Viscount Linley, the well-known furniture designer. At the time of her marriage, much was made of the fact that the woman marrying Princess Margaret's son had been born in Limerick.
The Edwards family moved to Longstone from Beechwood House, a lovely Georgian rectory just down the road, because they wanted more land for training horses. Now they are returning to live permanently in their other home in the UK so that they can be closer to their children and grandchildren. It is clearly a wrench.
"If I could pick up Longstone and move it to the UK lock, stock and barrel, I would," says Edwards. "It really is a lovely house."
But it wasn't always as immaculate as it is now. "Longstone was almost derelict when we bought it," says John, "so we refurbished completely and extended significantly, installing double-glazed hardwood sash windows. One of the things we did was to arrange the two parts of the house - the new and the old - so that they could function independently of each other, with separate heating zones. It would be an ideal house for a multi-generational family."
The detached two-storey period residence dates from the early 1900s and is a very comfortable and much-loved family home with 364sqm of living space and spectacular views over the surrounding Scarteen countryside and across to the Galtee Mountains. It is set behind electric gates and approached via a beech-lined avenue.
At ground-floor level there are drawing and dining rooms and a spacious kitchen/living/dining room with the obligatory four-oven Aga cooker, plus a separate electric oven for back-up. The kitchen units are hand-painted, the worktops are granite, and there is also a utility room, back kitchen and home office. Upstairs there are five pretty bedrooms, three of which are en suite.
Longstone comes with 52 acres of good, dry land in the heart of Tipperary's Golden Vale. John Edwards is a former master of the Scarteen hunt and his late father-in-law Lord Harrington was master of the Limerick Hunt for many years. The Tipperarys and Duhallows are both within an hour's drive, and the race courses at Limerick, Tipperary and Clonmel are all accessible.
While the gardens are mainly in lawn, the yard includes 13 loose boxes, haybarns, a four-unit walker, an all-weather sand arena, and tack and feed rooms. The lands are in permanent pasture laid out in seven paddocks and have extensive road frontage. Clearly, the likely buyers for Longstone are those intending to use it for equestrian pursuits and it would be ideally suited to training and sales preparation or as a base for showjumping, eventing, or breeding.
Others may find the prospect of golf at Ballykisteen, Limerick and Adare Manor, or good fishing on the Suir, Mulkear and the Blackwater more appealing.
Longstone lies 4km off the Limerick/Tipperary Road (N24), 10 minutes from Limerick Junction, 20 minutes from Limerick city, 40 minutes from Shannon Airport and an hour from Cork Airport. John Edwards says that the location is terrific, and has made commuting between the UK and Ireland regularly quite painless.
Joint agents: Jordan Town and Country (045) 433550 / GVM Auctioneers (063) 98555