Divine Designs – the family who looked to the past for inspiration when building a modern farmhouse in Meath

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Ardnamullen House, Clonard, Enfield, Co Meath Asking price: €550,000 Agent: Savills Country Agency (01) 663 4350

It may be a small village today with a population of just 347, according to the latest censuses, but Clonard in Co Meath was once the site of the most famous 6th century monastic school with 3,000 pupils at any one time who received an education there. .

A native of Meath, St Finian built a small cell and church at Clonard in AD 520 and devoted himself to a life of study, mortification and prayer. Like the hut described in WB Yeats’ poem, Inisfree Island LakeFinian’s humble build was “made of clay and acacia trees”, a fitting setting for the ascetic lifestyle he adopted.

The news spread far and wide and monks, priests, bishops, theologians and lay people from home and abroad flocked to his holy retreat.

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The 3,336 square foot property sits on 1.4 acres of land

The 3,336 square foot property sits on 1.4 acres of land

A dozen of his most prominent students, including St Mobhi of Glasnevin, St Brendan of Birr and St Ciarán of Clonmacnoise became known as the Twelve Apostles of Ireland.

But after such heavenly beginnings, the arrival of the Vikings at the end of the 8th century heralds hellish times for Clonard.

The village was looted, many lives were lost and treasures looted or destroyed. Yet the Vikings were also traders and craftsmen who had their own distinctive artistic styles. Centuries later, when the local river was dredged, a number of artifacts from the era were miraculously discovered.

Now housed in the National Museum, Clonard’s hoard includes an ornamental bucket believed to be from the 9th century, a crozier dating from the 11th or 12th century, and an ornate 12th-century chess piece found in a local bog around 1817.

While Clonard’s population may have shrunk considerably since its early years, the local community is stronger than ever, according to Louise Kennedy, who grew up there.

Now living in Dublin, she remembers her childhood as an idyllic time when she ran through open fields, ate wild apple jelly and homemade nettle soup, strung strings of daisies, picked blackberries and climb trees.

“If these hundred-year-old trees could talk, they would have stories to tell,” she muses.

It was the history of the place that inspired Louise, her brother and their respective families in 2006 to build a new home near their childhood home that would celebrate the heritage of the area within and blend in with its surroundings. outside.

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The view from the bedroom transformed into a home gym


The view from the bedroom transformed into a home gym

The view from the bedroom transformed into a home gym

Although originally intended to be primarily a full-time residence for one family member, it would also serve the needs of the wider clan, whether staying for long periods of time or visiting the weekends and during holidays.

Their collective imagination resulted in a 3,336 square foot single-family home — more than three times the size of the average semi-home — on a 1.4-acre lot with a scenic driveway behind an electric gate with security cameras. integrated.

Named after the neighborhood in which it is located, Ardnamullen House with its sash windows, arched front door and entrance columns has the traditional look of a stately home from a bygone era.

However, it is far from clay and wattlework that this modern mansion was made.

Having been insulated to less than an inch of its lifespan and had multi-fuel burner and condenser central heating systems installed, as well as underfloor heating downstairs, this home of campaign comes with a warm B3 BER.

“We wanted something for the whole family,” says Louise.

“We’ve tried to think of everyone’s needs, from a soft ramp leading to the front door for people with limited mobility, to a sound system in every room with keypad controls on the walls for those who love their music. .

“Although there are six bedrooms, we have converted the two on the top floor into a gym and home cinema. We have had lots of fun movie nights and I love the view from the gym overlooking the garden with its mini orchard and the fields beyond.”

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One of the bedrooms has been converted into a home cinema


One of the bedrooms has been converted into a home cinema

One of the bedrooms has been converted into a home cinema

As a nod to times past, fruit trees were planted so that future generations could also enjoy making their own wild apple or plum jelly and watching the seasons change in what is now a pretty garden. huge.

Should the new owners wish to branch out and purchase additional adjoining land, three plots of tillage and grassland, comprising 23 acres in total, are available separately.

Although the intended main resident was never able to live in this house, the family has carefully maintained it over the years to the point that it is now at a level where new owners can simply walk in and hang their hats. .

The bright red front door opens into an equally striking entrance hall with deep blue walls in the Benjamin Moore paint range providing a vibrant backdrop to a custom staircase built by a local craftsman .

In fact, everyone involved in this construction was local, including the architect, Joseph Breslin, and the builder, Pat Judge, based near Mullingar.

To the right of the hallway is a living room/home office with shutters and hardwood flooring. To the left is a sitting room where, taking pride of place on the wall above the fireplace, hangs a picture of the remains of Clonard’s iconic motte and Bailey Castle built in 1177 by the conquering Norman warlord Hugh de Lacy, first lord of Meath.

The living room opens into a newly refurbished kitchen/dining room with bespoke units, high end fittings, recessed lighting, tiled floor and central island, with patio doors opening onto the rear garden .

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The kitchen and the dining room


The kitchen and the dining room

The kitchen and the dining room

Also on the ground floor is a spacious utility room, pantry and guest toilet. There are four bedrooms upstairs (three en-suite and the main one also with a dressing room) and a family bathroom.

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Three of the original six bedrooms are en-suite


Three of the original six bedrooms are en-suite

Three of the original six bedrooms are en-suite

The top floor has two further bedrooms, currently converted into a cinema room and gym, another bathroom and storage space.

Outside there is a detached double garage with an attic upstairs which could be converted, subject to planning. The manicured gardens are mainly laid to lawn, with hedges on three sides, fenced meadows on another and a number of specimen fruit trees to the rear.

“When you grow up in a place like Clonard, you become guardians of the land so that everyone can enjoy it,” explains Louise.

“Walking here is a simple pleasure. If you want to venture a little further try the lakes around Mullingar, or the great walks and cafe at Belvedere House and Gardens.”

With many employers now offering the option of working from home for part of the week, Ardnamullen House is ideally located for families looking for a country lifestyle that also allows easy access to Dublin.

Located in the heart of the Irish Midlands with lush countryside as far as the eye can see, it is 10 minutes drive from the schools and shops of Enfield, and Mullingar is 20 minutes away.

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Another view of the entrance


Another view of the entrance

Another view of the entrance

The village of Clonard stretches from a gas station at one end to a pub, the Monastery Inn, at the other. Between the two are a national school, a church and a community hall.

The Clonard GAA club is over the road at St Finian’s Park and there is a choice of golf clubs within easy driving distance at Trim, Mullingar and Carton House.

It is half an hour’s drive from the Liffey Valley shopping centre, less than an hour from Dublin city and 40 minutes from the airport.

Savills Country Agency is guiding €550,000 for the property.

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