Low lie the dual aspects of Athenry at €550,000

Thu, Oct 3, 2013, 00:00


This Georgian property was home to the Blake family, most notably John Henry Blake, a bailiff in the late 1800s described by his antagonists as “a monster agent” who was assassinated along with his driver en route to Loughrea.

His descendant, Edmond Blake, commissioned the Evie Hone Stations of the Cross paintings, six of which were stolen from the local church earlier this year. Today the house is home to Florence Mitchell who, with her late husband Claude, spotted the potential and purchased Rathville more than 40 years ago even though it was in a state of disarray. Now, after a number of years of care and attention and plenty of upgrading, this property is back on the market with a price of €550,000 through estate agent Keane Mahony Smith.

The cut limestone house is on two levels, the ground floor where the Mitchell family have lived is accessed by a modest doorway into a lengthy hall, brightened by full length windows to the rear. All the doors on this level are colossal, presumably to allow access for ladies dresses in times gone by. The diningroom has dual aspect original sash windows, a marble fireplace, high ceilings and a door that leads downstairs to the original servant quarters.


Original features
Opposite is a well proportioned drawingroom with four large sash windows overlooking the landscaped gardens. The original fireplace is in situ, the hearth having been replaced with a gas fire. Both reception rooms have carpet but new owners may want to reveal the lovely original wooden floors underneath.

Off the hall is a small kitchen and an old black marble fireplace with a stove keeps this room toasty. Adjacent to the kitchen is an old nursery currently used for storage. A large bathroom which has had a recent overhall, with walnut laminate floors and wainscoting, houses a double shower and sink unit. There are four bedrooms on this floor, three with double alcoves, reminders of the Georgian credentials of the property.

And now to downstairs; Rathville has a basement that is the exact footprint of the ground floor, accessed through the dining room and also an entrance that leads from the main hall. Down a narrow staircase is an abundance of rooms, 12 to be precise, which were the original servant’s quarters. The old kitchen has game hooks still hanging from the ceiling near the hatch where game, fish and supplies would have been passed through to the cooks. Parts of the original stoves still remain as does the old Belfast sink. Most of the rooms here are small as they would have been staff bedrooms, with the exception of a large room with original cut granite walls and bay window. This would make an exceptional further reception room for new owners.

While there is much work that remains to be done at basement level, the new residents of Rathville could choose to live on the ground floor and renovate downstairs which, having its own access, could be converted into a substantial separate family home in itself. Or they might decide to bring the property back to its heyday and have a grand residence with more than 20 rooms.