Former Fianna Fáil senator’s five-bed period home for €890,000

Ard Caoin sits on two acres of landscaped gardens in Sligo. Its owner is downsizing

Ard Caoin, Manorhamilton Road, Ballytivnan, Sligo
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Address: Ard Caoin, Manorhamilton Road, Ballytivnan, Sligo
Price: €890,000
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald Draper
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Swathed in autumnal hues of Virginia creeper, Ard Caoin, a period home dating from the early 1900s, lies on two acres of mature landscaped gardens on Manorhamilton Road in Sligo. You would be forgiven for thinking that the property is in the wilds of the countryside, given its proportions and generous gardens, but it is at the edge of Sligo town.

It has the best of both worlds: a large country residence within walking distance to all amenities, which is also a 10-minute drive from the seaside villages of Rosses Point and Strandhill – one of the top surfing beaches in the country.

Former Fianna Fáil senator Geraldine Feeney has called Ard Caoin home for more than three decades. She is now downsizing as her four children have flown the coop, and the five-bedroom 253sq m (2,723sq ft) property is too big for her needs.

“When we bought Ard Caoin from the late Dr Foley, he had tears in his eyes. Though he would really miss it, he said he wanted a family to purchase his home,” recalls Feeney, who is now Government appointed member on the Standards in Public Office Commission.


It transpires, 33 years later, that Feeney has the same sentiments: “Children will really love this house: we used to have a school bell that I would ring, as the kids would be off playing in the four corners of the garden. It is really an enchanted spot and my kids – even though they are all grown up and have homes of their own – say they will really miss the place.”

Living room
Living room

Along with five bedrooms and four reception rooms are two attic rooms, which have an abundance of uses, as do the sheds and outhouses which could be converted into a studio or indeed home offices, should new owners prefer to work in a separate spot from home.

Feeney attributes the gardens – which are truly wonderful and stocked with now mature shrubs with year-round colour – to the late Kevin Egan of Waterglades Garden Centre, who she describes as "a legend".

“He was a historian in his own right, and a gentleman too. When he had finished the gardens here he insisted on building a state of the art tree house for the children as thank you.”


Though the tree house – after weathering three decades of storms – finally succumbed five years ago, there are a plethora of trees should new owners wish to construct a new one.

Saying she lied her way into the political world: "I told the local cumann in Tullamore I was 16 – when in fact I was only 15", Feeney credits the late taoiseach Albert Reynolds with being instrumental in opening the party to women.

“To give him his due, he noticed a huge void in the Fianna Fáil party, and created four seats on the ard comhairle [national executive] specifically for women as the party was so male dominated, so I owe my entrance into politics to him”.

A widow for the past 23 years, Feeney raised her four children at Ard Caoin and says she would not be leaving the house except for the fact that it is too large to manage on her own. Her lovely home, with a BER of G, is on the market through Sherry FitzGerald Draper seeking €890,000.

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about property, fine arts, antiques and collectables