Thursday 18 January 2018

To the manor born - new homes on country estate

Liadan Hynes previews three new houses in Kilkenny's beautiful Mount Juliet Estate

Houses on the beautiful 535 acre Mount Juliet Estate in Kilkenny
Houses on the beautiful 535 acre Mount Juliet Estate in Kilkenny
Liadan Hynes

Liadan Hynes

Traditionally, houses on hotel and golf courses tend to be viewed as second homes, as holiday residences. However, such is the appeal of the lifestyle on offer at the beautiful 535-acre Mount Juliet Estate in Kilkenny that many of the homes end up seducing their owners into full time residency. Ken MacDonald of selling agency Hooke & MacDonald has owned a property on the estate for over a decade now. Originally intended as a holiday home, over the years it has become his family's main residence.

"I had played golf there over the years, and was just very much attracted, like a lot of people are, by the estate. It's just amazing, steeped in heritage." Of living there, commuting between Dublin and Kilkenny, he says, it's the golf - the course was designed by Jack Nicklaus - the sense of relaxation, and the numerous walking trails, that he particularly enjoys. "The pace of life in Dublin is fairly hectic, so it's nice to come down here for part of the week, or weekends," he reflects. The MacDonald family actually built their house themselves, having bought the plot of land.

The estate eschews the usual modern style of home typically found on golf courses, and builder/buyers must adhere to style regulations, in keeping with the character of the estate. "You have to build them to an acceptable style and standard," explains MacDonald. That means a "traditional looking house, in keeping with the country estate style".

Three new homes have just come to the market, in a terrace of three and are being sold with their freehold title. Two are 277 sqm each, and have four double bedrooms, all with en suites, large living rooms and spacious high-spec kitchens, two large sun balconies, one enjoying morning sun, the other afternoon and evening sun. The open-plan living spaces are located upstairs in order to maximise light and the views. Prices start at €875,000 for the first two. The third unit has an additional one-bedroom cottage, of 80sqm; the buyer's choice of the standard of finish will decide the price of this unit.

These homes are particularly well situated, within a few minutes' walk of the main house, the clubhouse and spa, and all the leisure facilities on offer, as well as a pretty walk over the River Nore and up to Ballylinch stud. Overlooking the tenth fairway, they are also beside the walled garden, a spot so pretty that many couples choose it for their wedding photographs.

The houses were built in recent years, but have just been upgraded and totally refurbished, having never been previously occupied, and come with a BER rating of B1/B2.

There are approximately 90 houses on the estate at the moment, a mix of terraced houses, townhouses, lodges and larger detached homes tucked away in private and sheltered areas of the huge site. "There probably will be a few more but not very many," says MacDonald. "It has been developed very sensitively over the years, and the intention is to continue that strategy." The estate was bought by Tetrarch Capital in 2014, and it is upgrading and extending the facilities. The last few years has seen an upsurge in families purchasing homes within the grounds, according to MacDonald. These properties also hold great appeal for buyers nearing retirement, who purchase with a view to living there permanently. "One of the attractions is that there's roaming security 24 hours a day," says MacDonald. "For people who might be abroad or away on business that is a great comfort."

The estate is in the grounds of a 250-year-old, beautifully restored Georgian manor, now a hotel with an award-winning Michelin-starred restaurant, The Lady Helen. And for golf lovers, there's the bonus that each house comes with two full memberships.

Mount Juliet is unlikely to be matched in terms of the lifestyle - its residents will find fishing, archery, horse-riding, and falconry on the doorstep. The area is a favourite with artisans and craftsfolk and nearby Thomastown has a number of restaurants, cafes, shops, a chemist, vintage clothes stores and even a Lidl. Kilkenny city is 20 minutes away, Dublin roughly 1 hour 40 minutes, and Waterford 30 minutes.

Address: Nos 1, 2 & 3 the Walled Garden, Mount Juliet Estate, Thomastown, Kilkenny

Agent: Hooke & MacDonald (01) 631 8402

Viewing: Today, 2-3pm

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