'It deserves to be full of life' - Irish country home with African influence goes on the market for €765K
Ballycuddymore House Carrigatoher, Nenagh Co Tipperary: €765,000
Most city dwellers have dreamt of buying a place in the country at some stage or another. For some, the dream is a Big House with walled garden and all the trimmings. For others, it's a house in the middle of the countryside, somewhere with a bit of land, not too much, to grow a few vegetables and live at a slower pace.
But the reality of the dream is that once children come along, much of the good life can be spent behind the wheel of a car, ferrying the kids to and from school or GAA matches or driving to the nearest town to pick up a pint of milk.
So a country property that comes to market in turnkey condition, with a school nearby, a bit of land, and close to an airport and a regional city, is bound to be snapped up quickly.
Ballycuddymore House in north Tipperary is just such a property.
It has come to the market with an asking price of €765,000 and sits on just over one acre that includes two stables, a sand arena and a dry yard. It is a stone's throw from the local primary school and just five minutes' drive from Nenagh, 25 minutes from Limerick city and 40 minutes from Shannon Airport.
But it is the luxurious six-bedroom, five bathroom house that stretches to 358sqm which might clinch it for the dreamers. This is an immaculately maintained property, contemporary in style but with the original wooden ceiling beams and thick walls of the original farmhouse.
The current owners of the property are Shane and Caron Moran who bought the old farmhouse in 2005. Ordnance Survey maps for 1829 show the land named Ballycuddymore - from the Scots Gaelic for Place of the Horse - although it was not until 1888 that the land maps featured the original stone farmhouse.
Shane, who works in construction, met Caron when he was involved in a project in her native Zimbabwe. Between stepchildren and their own children, they now have a family of five boys and two girls.
So it was clear back in 2005 they needed a big house to accommodate everyone. They set about extending the original farmhouse upwards and outwards. Previous owners had already carried out some works in the 1990s but the Morans provided their own touches.
They added a pretty wooden verandah, for example, which gives the place more of an African look. It is wonderful in summer for BBQs and sitting out, says their 23-year-old daughter Cara, who spends as much time in Ballycuddymore as she can spare from her nursing job in Dublin.
They dismantled a plastic-roofed conservatory to the rear of the house and replaced it with a reception room and second storey. They extended out to give a bright dining room with skylights, a bay window and French doors onto a patio that gets the afternoon and evening sun.
A spacious master bedroom was added on the ground floor, accessed through a dressing room with fireplace. It has a huge en suite with a free-standing bath set in the bay window.
And as the years rolled on, Shane kept improving and tweaking the house. The country-style kitchen was redone recently and now boasts a smart five-ring gas hob, breakfast bar and kitchen island and enough counter space to cater for the large family.
"My mum is always in the kitchen," says Cara, "and we always wake up to the smell of cooking." Certainly it's a house designed for entertaining and hosting a crowd.
Upstairs, there is a games room and a kids' den where Cara's younger brothers like to hang out. There is also a second master suite with walk-in wardrobe and en suite, as well as four more bedrooms, one en suite and two further bathrooms.
The less glamorous working parts of the house are well-thought out. There is a cloakroom and an enviably large utility room on the ground floor, as well as a walk-in linen cupboard upstairs.
There's a modern wood-clad annexe built by Shane two years ago. It has its own patio, a double bedroom, kitchen, sitting room with wood burning stove and bathroom, and has obvious potential for rental or as a granny flat. Caron's parents, who have retired from the Western Cape in Africa, are currently in residence.
The family travel a lot and Shane and Caron now live in the Isle of Man with their two youngest boys, while Cara and her other siblings live in Dublin. So the family has reluctantly decided to sell Ballycuddymore.
"It's been home for me. I love coming here," says Cara. "But we're so used to having a huge amount of people here, it deserves to be full of life."
Agent: DNG Michael Gilmartin (067) 31569
Viewing: Strictly by appointment
Portrait by Eamon Ward