Star quality at Robin Hood’s €4.75m estate in Wexford

Once home to the actor Richard Greene, this grand country manor on 154 acres has its own tennis court, woodlands, stables and two cottages, and has had many famous visitors including Cary Grant and Elizabeth Taylor

Thu, Apr 24, 2014, 00:00

It’s the little things that count. This might seem like an odd thing to say when it comes to a grand period manor house, with formal gardens, a tennis court, lush paddocks and swathes of well-managed woodland. But what captivates most at Borleagh Manor in Inch, Gorey, Co Wexford, is the attention to detail.

Some of this is by design and some is serendipity – when you’re waiting for the imposing electric gates to open at the bottom of the long avenue, look up at the massive eagles on top of the pillars and see swallows nesting in their open beaks. Or stroll around the grounds to discover the evocative names of the fields written in stylish script, or a snippet of poetry to wish fishermen luck on a plaque at the trout lake.

Built in the early 1700s, and rebuilt in its current Georgian style in 1840, Borleagh Manor has captivated throughout its history.

The Quin family bought it in 1771 for £13,000, and lived there until 1963. Then it was sold to English matinee idol Richard Greene – most famous for playing Robin Hood in the 1950s TV series.

Greene brought glamour to the place, and famous guests including Cary Grant, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, all of whom, no doubt, appreciated the total privacy of the 154 acres.

Horses have featured in the house’s history too. Greene bred them and was master of the Wicklow hunt, and breeders and trainers have lived there since.

Today there are 30 stables in two immaculate yards, plus barns, foaling boxes and a seven furlong uphill stretch that a previous owner had laid sand on for a training gallop.

Georgian symmetry
The house has that wonderful Georgian symmetry, from the pillared entrance hall, to the formal drawing and diningrooms on either side. There is a library and a bright sunny conservatory that opens to a terrace, on to the formal gardens.

Further back, a well-appointed kitchen seems to be waiting to cater for grand dinners, or cosy suppers in the adjoining den.

Upstairs there are four bedrooms. The current owners have thoroughly restored and renovated, and created magnificent en suites, and a huge dressing room off the master bedroom. Extra guests can stay in either of the two cottages on the grounds. One has four bedrooms and the other two.

The basement has been designed to appeal to children (of all ages). The corridor is painted like a fun streetscape, and doors lead off to a games room, snooker room, wine cellar, study, laundry and boot room. In all there is approx 800sq m (8,611sq ft) of accommodation in the main house.

Walled gardens
Outside, beyond the formal gardens and stable yards, there is a large walled kitchen garden that the owners have restored, with fruit trees, asparagus beds, herbs and other vegetables. An elegant greenhouse sits in the centre.

Wrapped around this are lush wooded areas, awash with bluebells and surprise seating areas. Down a small path is an enclosed fragrant garden, where all the plants are white, and a little gazebo encourages you to take stock and relax.

Down at the lake, a swimming platform and summerhouse beckons, but this is April, so only the dogs jump in for a swim.

Borleagh Manor is heaven for anyone who thrives on privacy, has a taste for a rich and genuine slice of history, or who breeds or trains horses, and who wants to live just over an hour from Dublin. Though it comes at a price – €4.75 million, by private treaty with Colliers International.

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