Glory days await at Whitfield Court in Co Waterford for €1.35m
Though in need of a comprehensive restoration, this Greco-Italian style house is nevertheless in a stunning location, surrounded by wooded parklands, and has a grand staircase, towers and two columned entrances
The Chavasse family with donkey and trap at the entrance to Whitfield Court, Kilmeaden. Photograph: Waterford County Museum
Maria Ines Dawnay came to Whitfield Court at the age of 23. “It was a love affair from the very beginning,” she says.
Married to the late Major Hugh Dawnay, whose family had owned the estate since the early 1900s, the couple raised their two sons there, and ran an international polo school on the grounds.
“It was such a beautiful home, my favourite room was the library, oh and my bedroom, I loved my bedroom. So much sunshine . . . ”
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Whitfield Court was a grand house, and a friendly one, comfortable and homely but imposing and stately too, with everything you could want from a working estate: stables, a yard with barns, a two-bed gate lodge, parkland, wetland, mature woodlands and productive farmland.
It was built for William Christmas to designs by Daniel Robertson and was later the Chavasse family home, from the late 19th century to 1913.
Later the house was sold to a consortium led by Antrim- based developer Alastair Jackson. He had plans (you’ve guessed it) to turn Whitfield into a luxury golf resort, with a separate clubhouse and holiday chalets.
He had secured permission too, subject to appeal, in 2006, but the inevitable delays ran into the recession; and, now in Nama, the house has been empty for a decade and needs an awful lot of love to restore it to its former glory.
At Sherry FitzGerald, who are handling the sale, they point out that the inevitable golf-resort fate of so many of Ireland’s Big Houses is being altered, as private buyers, such as John Malone at Humewood Castle in Wicklow, are picking up where the developers left off.
Whitfield is for sale by private treaty for €1.35 million, down from the reported €4 million paid by Jackson’s consortium in 2004. On the other hand, it was valued in 1840 at just £49, so who says house prices aren’t going up again?
Though in need of a comprehensive restoration, it is nevertheless in a stunning location. The 1,292sq m (13,905sq ft) listed Greco-Italian style house is set on a rise in formerly landscaped grounds and surrounded by wooded parkland. There is a grand staircase, towers, and two columned entrances.
“I was often there on my own,” says Dawnay, who is originally from Spain. “But I never felt lonely. I always felt like someone was putting an arm around me in that house. It had such a lovely presence.”
Now Whitfield requires love in return: whether it needs a golf course, a clubhouse and holiday chalets is another matter entirely.