Handsome former rectory on historic site


One of the first country houses to hit the market in the new selling season, Ardbraccan Glebe, near Navan, Co Meath, is expected to make in excess of £575,000 (€730,099) when it is auctioned towards the end of next month.

Robert Ganly of Ganly Walters is handling the sale in conjunction with William Montgomery of Sothebys.

The five-bedroom Victorian house dates from the 1890s and was for many years a Church of Ireland rectory. It overlooks the once-expansive acres of Ardbraccan, the seat of the Bishops of Meath for centuries until the 1950s.

Although Tara Mines has a lead and zinc mine in the immediate area it does not unduly impinge on local residents.

Ardbraccan Glebe is a beautifully sited redbrick house on the brow of a hill with one and three-quarter acres of stunning gardens and a paddock to keep a few horses. The adjoining fields have the settled, comforting look of a place that has been farmed and tended over a great many years. The house itself sits comfortably on a circular site that mirrors a ring fort about 100 yards away with towering beech and oak trees that have marked the ancient monument for the best part of 200 years.

Interestingly, the house faces away from the road to allow as many sun traps as possible in the main rooms. The clever layout means that sunlight enters each room at the appointed time. This is particularly noticeable in the livingroom with its broad bay window at one end and a side wall with windows on either side of a marble fireplace. The bright and airy atmosphere is also obvious in the drawingroom, which features a huge casement window overlooking a croquet lawn.

The two reception rooms on opposite sides of the entrance hall are matched in scale and style for easy entertaining. The glebe also has something many period houses lack - a family room offering a comfortable ambience, particuarly on cold winter nights.

The present owners have greatly improved the kitchen by knocking several rooms into one and fitting it out with an attractive range of floor and wall units, a Belfast sink and integrated electrical appliances.

A solid wooden staircase rises from the entrance hall to the first floor where there are five good-sized bedrooms. The main bedroom is particularly notable as its layout reflects that of the diningroom, with a similar casement window giving views over the rolling green pastures.

A strong selling point will be the impeccable grounds which include huge lawns and a great variety of trees and shrubs. There is an attractive gravel driveway up to the front door and double gates opening into a fine old stable yard. A two-storey coach-house is in fairly good condition and could be converted into guest accommodation at a reasonable cost.