The home where racing legends were made
RHEINDROSS HOUSE, BALTRACEY CROSS, MAYNOOTH, CO KILDARE €1.35m
Goffs Property: (045) 981 048 Viewing: By appointment
BRIAN Walsh had only owned Silver Birch for 11 months when the gelding romped home to win the Aintree Grand National — and not insignificant prize money of £400,000 (€474,000) — in 2007 at the age of 10. Bought at the Doncaster Sales in 2006 for 20,000 guineas, the horse, a former Welsh Grand National winner, who was lame at the time of his purchase, was trained by former amateur rider, Gordon Elliott, and ridden by Robert ‘Puppy’ Power. At the time, the owner, trainer and jockey were all under 30. The story goes down in Irish racing history as one of the great fairy tales.
Ten years on, and Silver Birch is enjoying a well-earned retirement at Rheindross House in Co Kildare, the home of Brian Walsh.
“These days he mainly minds the younger horses,” says Brian, “keeping them company out in the paddock. And he’s just back from his holidays — he goes to Aintree each year for the Parade of Champions.”
Brian is a farmer and breeder of thoroughbred horses. “They’re supposed to be racehorses,” he says, with the wry intonation of someone who’s had his heart broken a few times.
He built the three-storey Rheindross House in 2006, the same year that he made the astute purchase of Silver Birch, and currently has young horses coming through but none in training. Brian plans to stay in the business locally, but Rheindross is now on the open market for the first time and will be of interest to an equestrian looking for a substantial modern home in the heart of Kildare horse country.
Positioned within easy reach of the race courses at The Curragh, Naas, Fairyhouse and Punchestown, and close to Derrinstown Stud, one of the best-known in the country, Rheindross comes with 10.5 acres of stud-railed land, including three all-weather paddocks, three turn-out fields, a nursery paddock, and a purpose-built American barn with 10 Loddon stables.
With 594sqm of living space, Rheindross has plenty of room for family life and also for entertaining. One approaches the house through electric gates and past stud-railed paddocks along a beech tree-lined avenue flanked with lantern street lamps. In front of the house there is a parking circle with a central fountain.
Double doors lead into a stone-floored inner porch, opening onto the entrance hall with an oak staircase that splits into two, leading to the upstairs rooms. The reception rooms are highceilinged and well-proportioned; the sitting room has a gas-fired marble fireplace and views to the front of the house and paddocks beyond, while the drawing room is equipped with an oak bar ready to be connected to the new owner’s beer of choice. Inter-connecting doors lead to the dining room, with three sets of French doors leading to the sheltered York Stone patio area to the rear of the house, ideal for eating out of doors in the summer months.
The kitchen looks out over the garden and has plenty of built-in storage units, a traditional black double oven Aga and a central island unit. Brian says that the family spends most of their time in here. There is also a well kitted-out utility room and family bathroom adjacent to the back door, while off the entrance hall are a guest room and a drying room, the latter essential as somewhere to put wet coats, muddy boots, and smelly dogs (and puddle-splattered children).
Upstairs, the master bedroom has not one but two dressing rooms, and an en-suite bathroom. Four further bedrooms, all en-suite, are arranged around the central landing; two have walk-in wardrobes. On the top floor, there are two more bedrooms, with storage space under the eaves. Outside, the gardens are laid out in lawns, with box-lined paths, native shrubbery and trees, all providing scent, colour and shelter, yet designed to be low-maintenance. Adjacent to the patio, a paved path leads to an outdoor hot tub tucked into a tall photinia hedge.
A detached two-car garage lies to the side of the house and beyond that is the stable yard. Although currently used as a breeding yard, it is suitable for other equestrian purposes.
The location of Rheindross is equidistant between Kilcock and Clane, both are 6.5km away. Kilcock has three primary schools (including one Gaelscoil) and one secondary school, while Clane has good shopping.
The Kilcock Canoe Polo Club on the harbour on the Royal Canal holds regular training sessions for boys and girls, and other activities for children and teenagers in the town include GAA, rugby and running clubs.
There are also pony clubs for younger riders in the area. Brian says that his own daughter is ‘mad about horses’, which is hardly surprising — it must be in the genes.
Rheindross House has plentry of room for family life, entertaining — and horses. Right: Robert Power on Silver Birch at the 2007 Aintree Grand National