How 'New York Times' pictures Ireland
CO LAOIS: €1.3 MILLION:When the US newspaper wanted to illustrate a feature on the Irish property market it opted for this Georgian country pile on 30 acres in DurrowWHEN THE New York Times comes calling to feature your house in its property supplement you’re not going to say no, even if you do have only four hours’ notice before the photographer arrives and your house – with nine bedrooms and 895sq m (9,633sq ft) – is rather large for a quick whip around with a Hoover and duster.
Last week the New York Times did a profile of the property market in Ireland – it focuses on a different country every week – and, as well as giving the nuts and bolts of the process of buying, they pick a house to highlight. And, quite out of the blue for Kathryn Lennon and Arthur Lappin, the paper chose Clonageera House, their fine Georgian house on 30 acres in Durrow, Co Laois. It’s on the market through Savills for €1.3 million.
In its long history – the house is over 200 years old – Clonageera has had two American owners. When the Lappins – who are both film and TV producers – bought it in the late 1990s it was from an American who had completely renovated it.
“It was interesting to see the house through the eyes of the photographer,” says Lennon, who rolled up her sleeves and put her teenage children to work tidying when she got the call from photographer, Paulo Nunes dos Santos.
“He’s Portuguese and mostly works as a war photographer so this was a very different sort of assignment for him. It’s a very bright house and he wanted to show that and he also wanted to convey the life of the place, capturing a busy family house on an ordinary day at the end of the summer.”
Estate agent’s photos, she adds, “are all about the size of the rooms and the fireplaces, the period details and that sort of thing.”
The living areas got the most attention – the kitchen with its four-door Aga and scrubbed, custom-made pine table that comfortably sits 18; the high ceilinged and rather grand living room made family friendly by comfortable sofas, kilims and heaving bookshelves; the formal dining room, and the beautiful reception hall with elaborate cornices and marble fireplace.
As well as that, there are nine bedrooms, several bathrooms and en suites, a serving kitchen, a study, a sun room, wine cellar, and all the utility rooms that come with a Georgian country house.
Giving a sense of 30 acres of grounds is always a challenge for a photographer. Clonageera House has a stable yard with two coach houses, loose boxes and a tack room as well as an old gardener’s cottage, a potting shed and a tennis court – but the photograph used in the New York Times’ slide show is of one of the family dogs in the pretty arched doorway to the oval walled garden which gives a sense of the property’s peaceful charm.
“Georgian houses like this really come to life when they are filled with people,” says Lennon. “This has been a fantastic house to live in.”
When they moved to Laois from Dublin it was with four small children and they were in search of the freedom that having so much space, both indoors and outdoors, gives a growing family. It was, she admits, laughing, maybe also prompted by years of devouring Country Living magazine. Now the couple’s life has entered a different phase with the children in boarding school or college and they no longer need so much space. They plan to move back to Dublin for work and to be near their family.
Clonageera House, Durrow, Co Laois
Description: 200-year-old Georgian house with nine bedrooms. In the grounds are two coach houses and stables