Saturday 24 March 2018

Wicklow home with gorgeous views over Blessington Lakes on the market for €650k

An Dun Ard, Ballyknockan, Blessington, Co Wicklow €650,000

An Dun Ard in Ballyknockan is built using local granite
An Dun Ard in Ballyknockan is built using local granite

Words by Katy McGuinness

"When we saw the house first," explain Myriam and Willem Mevius, "we were looking for something that didn't need work. And we wanted something that wasn't in Dublin, but not too far away either. And light, we wanted lots of light. Most of the houses that we saw had low ceilings and were very dark."

On their first viewing of An Dun Ard - the name means 'The High Fort' - Myriam and Willem realised that they had found somewhere that ticked all those boxes. The house was in excellent condition, 45 minutes' drive from Dublin and had 4.3m ceilings. On their second viewing, they spotted all the little details - the sunken bath, the plentiful sockets, the Celtic stone circle, the granite Madonna - that told them that the house had been carefully thought through by its previous owner, Con Creedon, from whose estate they made the purchase a decade ago.

An Dun Ard is located in the picturesque village of Ballyknockan - known as the Granite Village - and has magnificent views over Blessington Lakes in West Wicklow. Creedon was in the quarrying business and a major employer in the area; the house is clad in Ballyknockan granite. Myriam and Willem understand that he built the house as a project when quarrying went into decline, due to cheaper imports of granite from China in the early '80s, to help provide continued employment. They have met numerous tradesmen and craftspeople from the area who worked on the construction of the house.

"Everyone says that he was a perfectionist," says Myriam, "and it's very clear to us that everything in the house was done with love; there is a sense of joy and positivity about it. Sadly, he fell ill soon after the house was completed, and so he never lived in it full-time, although his children told us that the family used to gather here for Christmas and Easter over the years."

The ‘showstopper’ sitting room has a timber-lined pitched ceiling and splendid views.
The ‘showstopper’ sitting room has a timber-lined pitched ceiling and splendid views.

With 340sqm of living space, An Dun Ard is a substantial family home. To borrow a phrase from The Great British Bake Off, the showstopper is the sitting room, from which the views are exceptional. The room has a tiled floor, open gas fire and patio doors leading to the front of the house, which faces west. The TV area is cosy, with a solid fuel fire. The kitchen has tiled flooring and a range of high- and low-level units.

The master bedroom is floored in oak and has a walk-in wardrobe and en-suite bathroom with that sunken bath/shower. There are two further bedrooms and bathrooms on the ground floor. Upstairs, there are three rooms, currently used as a home gym, music room, and fourth bedroom.

An Dun Ard comes with separate guest accommodation that includes a bedroom with en-suite, kitchenette, and living room with wooden flooring. Myriam understands that this granny flat may have been intended to be used as accommodation for a live-in nurse, but says that they have had success with it as an AirBnB rental.

The house sits on two acres that include landscaped gardens that Myriam says are easily maintained, and there is potential for a second dwelling, subject to planning permission. There is also a recently erected steel garage.

Blessington, historically known as Ballycomeen, is situated on the River Liffey in Wicklow, near the border with Kildare. It lies 25km south-west of Dublin, and is the largest town in West Wicklow and the gateway to the National Park, with woods, mountains, rivers and lakes.

"We have loved living in the area," say Myriam and Willem, who are originally from Holland and are now moving to Switzerland. "There is a lovely mix of people, from the old stone-cutting families to the 'imports', who are mainly young professionals with children. It's a vibrant community. Blessington has pubs, cafes and good shops, including a great book store, a health food shop and a gym.

The cosy TV room
The cosy TV room

"We have enjoyed going for long walks, and taking boats out on the lake. We have grown vegetables and kept chickens, and there are birds in the garden and sometimes deer. It is very peaceful here. We both travel a lot for work and it is always nice to come home to."

Era: 1980s

Size: 340sqm

Agent: Sherry FitzGerald (01) 237 6300

Viewing: By appointment

The master bedroom is floored in oak
The master bedroom is floored in oak

Sunday Independent

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