Mag­i­cal Lif­fey­side set­ting for ¤1.3m

Tem­ple Mills House in Cel­bridge is a re­stored Ge­or­gian prop­erty idyl­li­cally lo­cated be­side a mill race on seven acres com­plete with guest cot­tage

The Irish Times - Thursday - Property - - Front Page - El­iz­a­beth Birdthis­tle

Tem­ple Mills House is one of those rare prop­er­ties that gets un­der the skin – in a positive sense.

Per­haps it’s the lo­ca­tion on the tree-lined banks of the Lif­fey, or the is­land – cre­ated by the mill race, laden with blue­bells and wild gar­lic – or in­deed the prop­erty it­self, which dates back to 1785. The com­bi­na­tion of the wa­ter­front set­ting, ma­ture gar­dens and un­usual out­build­ings offers a rare op­por­tu­nity for a home just out­side Cel­bridge in Co Kil­dare.

Built by the Shaw brothers who op­er­ated the mill for their woollen in­dus­try, over the years it has had quite a salu­bri­ous legacy of res­i­dents. One of the Bar­ton fam­ily – of the French Bar­ton and Guestier vine­yards has called Tem­ple Mills home, as did John El­lis, whose pre­vi­ous home was Straf­fan House – now the K Club. El­lis used the old mill it­self as a mo­tor mu­seum for his col­lec­tion of vin­tage cars.

The main house, cloaked in Vir­ginia creeper and heady with sum­mer scents of Chi­nese wis­te­ria draped over the entrance, ex­tends to 455sq m, but none of the rooms have that overly grand feel that houses of this size can some­times have. It is more un­der­stated com­fort­able el­e­gance.

The cur­rent own­ers who have lived here for the past 23 years pur­chased the house “which took a year and a for­tune to re­store”. Un­der the guid­ance of conservation ar­chi­tect John O’Con­nell – whose work also in­cludes the restora­tion of Fota, Charleville and Abbeyleix Houses – “ev­ery joist and tim­ber was ex­am­ined, re­in­forced and made safe.”

In ad­di­tion much plumb­ing and elec­tri­cal work was car­ried out, so the Ge­or­gian house has all its pe­riod features re­stored com­bined with all mod­ern con­ve­niences.

The ar­chi­traves and cor­nic­ing are par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive; “they had been painted over so many times you couldn’t see any det a i l and had to be chipped back by hand” says the owner who is down­siz­ing due to an empty nest.

In­deed, dur­ing restora­tion some won­der­ful fire­places hid­den un­der years of paint were re­vealed – the piece in the draw­ing room is par­tic­u­larly note­wor­thy. The prop­erty now has six bed­rooms – a sev­enth was con­verted into a large dress­ing room and en-suite for the prin­ci­pal room which over­looks the

‘‘ The main house, cloaked in Vir­ginia creeper and heady with sum­mer scents of Chi­nese wis­te­ria draped over the entrance, ex­tends to 455sq m

front lawn.There are three for­mal re­cep­tion rooms in ad­di­tion to a morn­ing break­fast room and re­laxed fam­ily room – which lies ad­ja­cent to the coun­try-style Wedge­wood blue kitchen.

In the base­ment lie a war­ren of rooms, some of which are used as stor­age, oth­ers as a wine cel­lar, util­ity and more of which could be re­stored – this is in ad­di­tion to the 455sq m up­stairs.

What makes the prop­erty par­tic­u­larly in­ter­est­ing are the build­ings scat­tered around the grounds. The re­mains of a cas­tle dat­ing from the 12th cen­tury sit along­side the old mill wall and what was in its hey­day a ball­room has now been con­verted to a guest cot­tage – com­plete with lat­ticed win­dows. The old mill it­self, though now hous­ing just an Olympic-sized tram­po­line, would make a re­mark­able loft con­ver­sion and has the ben­e­fit of a sep­a­rate entrance – but also links to the main house.

Fur­ther­more, the prop­erty re­tains its arched locks on ei­ther side of the mill race, and a Vic­to­rian bridge leads to a pri­vate is­land where the fam­ily have bathed in the wa­ters of the Lif­fey. Though a tad over­grown a cou­ple of goats would do won­ders to clear the un­der­growth, but to be hon­est they would never want to leave.

The gar­dens which ex­tend to seven acres, in­clude for­mal spa­ces – with a pair of grace­ful Cor­nus Con­tro­versa cur­rently in full bloom. The rest are lawns, wood­lands and a pad­dock, where some of the old rose bushes are over 10 feet tall.“Sleep­ing to the sound of rush­ing water is just heav­enly and what I will miss most,” says the owner who has placed this most unique and in­ter­est­ing prop­erty on t he mar­ket through DNG Cel­bridge with an ask­ing price of ¤1.3mil­lion. Easy ac­cess, slower growth keep Kil­dare on track: page 18

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