Castle with majestic views
The dining room, the drawing room, the family room and the breakfast room all share the same magnificent views over the bay and gardens, each one flooded by bright sea-light. In contrast, the rooms to the front of the property – a library, a study and the spooky billiard room – seem rather dark and dreary. The long stone-flagged hall is elegant and beautiful, but the main staircase is something of a disappointment. It is handsome enough – carved oak with wrought iron insets – but it runs alongside the hallway like a functional after-thought, rather than the glorious feature you hope it might be.
In part, this is because of the design of the castle, which sports an impressive elongated frontage at the expense of depth: the whole building, which covers about 987sq m (10,624sq ft), is never more than two rooms wide. So there’s simply no space to get fancy with the stairs.
The kitchen has a small, basic and perplexing design. This is not the kind of place you could envisage yourself lingering in with coffee and the papers, or knocking up a feast for the banqueting hall. In fact, it might be more accurate to call it a food preparation area: it has that grim utilitarian feel. Curiously, it’s also about half the size of the adjoining utility room.
Upstairs, there are seven en-suite bedrooms, four of which are intended as guest suites, with their own sitting rooms and open fires. The main bedroom, in the centre of the keep, has a private roof terrace, so you can sit out and survey your estate on fine days. And you can climb a tiny wooden spiral staircase and emerge at the top of the keep, among the sandstone crenellations, where you’ll find the best views of all.
Underneath the nasty bathroom fittings and the regrettable mishmash of interior styles – caught somewhere between Tudoresque rustic and 1980s design hell – there is a great castle here, just waiting to get out. Nothing has been done to it, with the possible exception of the external rendering, that cannot be fairly easily undone. With the right combination of imagination, insight and restraint, Quintin Castle could be made to live again. And this time, it doesn’t have to be a melodrama.
Quintin Castle, Ards Peninsula, Co Down
DescriptionCastle with impressive exterior but ill-considered interior details
Joint agentsKnight Frank and Templeton Robinson