Georgian house tucked into Aughrim's historic hills


Co Wicklow: €1.5mA fine country house has lots of space and potential, writes Kate McMorrow

A restored country house tucked into the lee of Co Wicklow's Aughrim hills is new to the market with HOK Country.

Clone House is guiding €1.5 million prior to auction on June 7th. First built in the 1650s by the O'Byrne clan, the mansion was burnt down in the 1798 rebellion and rebuilt in 1805. A few years ago, then owner Michael Smith - former chairman of An Taisce - carried out a complete restoration between 1996 and 1999.

The current residents are the Watsons, an Italian/American family who have operated an upmarket guest house at Clone House for the past few years. They have added considerably to the landscaping begun by Michael Smith, spending a small fortune on plants and creating a beautiful four-acre backdrop for the elegant Georgian house.

At over 650sq m (7,000sq ft) and with 11 bedrooms, it's a substantial country pile by most standards, although individual rooms are a comfortable size. A buyer has the option of continuing the guest house tradition or using Clone as a rambling family home. The interior is typical of its period, with well-proportioned rooms, sash windows and marble fireplaces. An Italian influence is much in evidence, with rich jewel-coloured walls and plushly decorated bedrooms.

Past the two mosaic-tiled halls is the drawingroom, dual-aspect with marble chimneypiece, cornicing and wide bay window looking south. The diningroom gets the last of the evening sun and has a similar wood floor and chimneypiece. There is also a study with fireplace, library with decorative beamed ceiling, various cloakrooms and a music room with an atmospheric inglenook fireplace where singalongs last into the night.

The kitchen will delight serious cooks, with its twin Belfast sinks, oil-fired Aga and two steel gas ovens, commercial fridge, freezer and dishwasher. Ceiling beams and a wood floor add warmth. Next to this are two pantries and an office. A laundry room, games room and sauna room are off the back hall.

Six of the 11 bedrooms are en suite and there are four further bath or shower rooms. Most of the bedrooms have cast-iron fireplaces and the bathrooms feature free-standing cast-iron baths. One particularly glamorous suite includes a full bathroom and dressingroom. A mountain stream runs through delightful formal and informal gardens and there is a lily pond and huge monkey-puzzle tree. A courtyard surrounded by cut-stone buildings has strong potential.