Colonial living on 341 acre Wicklow estate with 300 years of family history

Whoever buys Fortgranite House will need deep pockets to renovate the 1700s house

  • Address: Fortgranite Estate Baltinglass Co Wicklow
  • Price: € 3,500,000
  • Agent: Knight Frank and Jordan Auctioneers
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It is rare when a property comes to the market in Ireland that its rich historical legacy is more deserving of a book rather than a small synopsis in The Irish Times.

Walking through the 1,096sq m manor with Mark Shirley-Beavan; son-in-law of the later Piers Dennis whose family have lived here since the house was built in the early 1700s, is akin to rambling through a museum treasure trove yet to be catalogued.

Portraits hanging in the main hallway reveal the literary and artistic connections to the Dennis family with poet John Dryden, satirist Johnathan Swift, Shakespearean scholar Edgar Flower and artist Kathleen Marescaux.

Furthermore the heads of an African buffalo and an array of roan antelope, tell how ancestor General Meade Dennis shot these beasts in Africa to feed his troops while in Khartoum – sending the skins back to be stuffed and mounted – where they have greeted guests in the hall for over a century.

Family boffin

Most interesting, though, is an old box in the basement which holds the Dennis Detector – a prototype of the machine used to detect submarines during the two World Wars, designed and built by Col Meade Dennis – the family boffin.

The property, which was remodelled in the 1870s and now will require deep pockets to upgrade in parts, is simply laden with history and charm.

The grounds which extend to 341 acres, 85 of which are parkland – the remainder is a dairy farm, has one of the most important Rhododendron collections in Ireland. A diary from the 1800s lists all the specimens imported from the Himalayas, which are, along with Irish Yew and Incense Cedars recognised in the Tree Council’s Tree Register of Ireland.


The property has 11 bedrooms and five main reception rooms. The basement needs much work, as here lies the treasure – three centuries of family ephemera.

In addition, the grounds have four cottages with further accommodation including the picturesque toy castle Regency gate lodge. The lands include a lake and the arboretum has a Scots Pine planted specifically to be viewed from the bed in the principal bedroom.

The estate is on the market for the first time in its 300-year legacy through joint agents Knight Frank and Jordan Auctioneers with an asking price of €3.5 million.