Coulter's classic tranquillity in Bray

Thu, Jul 12, 2012, 01:00

Just a short walk from Bray, Phil Coulter and Geraldine Brannigan’s period home has provided a serene setting to pursue their creative work. Now it’s on sale at over €1.2+ million

SINGER-SONGWRITER Phil Coulter and Geraldine Brannigan are selling up in Co Wicklow with the intention of downsizing to something smaller. Their house, Killarney House on Killarney Road in Bray, has been more than a home to the couple and their large family for the past 21 years – Phil’s studio is in the garden complete with grand piano and walls lined with the many gold and platinum discs the singer and composer has earned over his successful and high-profile career.

The couple were living in London prior to buying the Bray house and they arrived with their six small children to a place that was certainly large enough for their needs. In all, there are eight bedrooms and the main house has 436sq m of space, there’s a studio wing with 108sq m, and a separate mews of 32sq m.

It’s an unusual period house, built in two stages. The oldest part, originally a modest two-storey farmhouse, is at the back and was built, according to agent Gordon Lennox, around 300 years ago, with the metre thick stone walls to prove it. Sometime in the 19th century, new owners went on a gentrification spree and built on an extension, in effect a new house, to the front and that is what you see now when you approach from the winding driveway – a classic two-storey period house with bay windows and a fanlight over the door.

The original farmhouse is now a wing at the back with bedrooms upstairs and a large eat-in kitchen and family room downstairs. Completing the U-shaped rear exterior is Phil Coulter’s two-storey and very pretty whitewashed studio in what was originally the farm’s apple store.

The 19th-century part of the house is the more formal section – with two reception rooms on either side of the hall; one a dining room, the other a living room. This has attractive cornice work but, unfortunately, at some time in the past the original fireplace was replaced with a brick version. Upstairs, spread over two levels, there are five bedrooms, three with ensuites.

Down a few steps from the hall is a bar area complete with water fountain and this leads to the conservatory which in turn opens into the kitchen.

Killarney House is one of those comfortable and pleasantly rambling period houses.

The mature and private garden is as rambling as the house. It’s on over half an acre, has a pond, two barbecue areas, as well as a section once home to Geraldine’s vegetable patch and hens – until travel commitments made it impossible to keep. The single-storey mews house is to the side and quite separate. Killarney Road is one of Bray’s major roads but this house is set well back from it, behind two sets of gates so it feels far from Bray’s busy main street which is only a short walk away.

Geraldine, a successful painter, has in the past five years resumed her singing career, including doing several concerts and cruises with husband Phil, so as well as downsizing now that the nest is getting empty, she has a new phase in her career to deal with, and that requires travel. There’s not much time for the upkeep of such a large house. She says that their next house will be, like this one, “all about the kitchen, maybe with a conservatory, but nothing pretentious”.

Gordon Lennox, now with estate agents Sherry FitzGerald, sold the house to the Coulters 21 years ago. Then it was owned by James P Hogan, a science-fiction writer, and before that a photographer lived here so it’s been in creative hands for generations. Now he’s selling it for them with an asking price of €1.275 million.

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