A bargain estate in bucolic Ireland

Timothy Barber
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TO say the Irish property market has had a bit of a rocky patch is like saying Brian O’Driscoll’s relatively tasty when it comes to scoring tries. As the Irish economy came apart in the recession, the property market fell, and fell, and fell. Then it fell a bit more.

Now, those prepared to make canny longterm property purchases have an easy way into a devalued market. In particular, people with deep pockets looking for sensational getaway homes are able to get vastly more bang for their buck if they look in Ireland.

A couple of years ago Hollywood House, a sensational country pile built in 1760 and sitting amid 50 acres of spellbinding County Wicklow countryside, would have been worth around €10m. It’s now on the market for precisely half that amount, and even in such a soft market, it’s something of a find. County Wicklow, on stretching from east of Dublin to the Irish Sea, might roughly be described as Dublin’s Berkshire – a pretty landscape that’s popular with well-to-do commuters. That means it’s well-serviced and easy to reach – and, indeed, Hollywood House is about a 35-minute from Dublin airport.

In the south of Ireland there are plenty of splendid, grand properties, but to find one on the market in such proximity to the capital – it’s 30 miles to Dublin city centre – is rather rare. And it’s a very fine place. On the outside, a gleaming, white-stuccoed Georgian block, a stable block with a courtyard, an outlying guest house, a gate lodge, and 50 surrounding acres of woodland and paddocks.

Inside there are six bedrooms, a semi basement with a staff apartment, a games or party room and a wine cellar, and superbly opulent reception and dining rooms on the ground floor. Columned arches, marble fireplaces, ornate chandeliers, sparkling parquet floors – the best of high Georgiana. And if you wish to modernise, Irish labour costs are cheap too.

Contact Knight Frank on 00353 6623255 or Colliers Jackson-Stops on 00353 633 3700.