Kilkea Bridge Cottage, set in the picturesque village of Kilkea, Co Kildare, is just beside Kilkea Castle and within walking distance of both entrances. The castle grounds, which extend to almost 73 hectares (180 acres), include woodlands, private gardens and an 18-hole championship golf course.
While the castle itself dates all the way back to 1180 – and is said to be the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Ireland – part of the cottage dates from the 1850s. Back then, it was a three-room gate lodge to a local farm and over the years it has been extended. In 2007, it underwent a major renovation with an extension and then when the current owner purchased the property in 2015 for €410,000, further works were undertaken.
A diningroom and study were added to the rear of the house, which now gives a generous 261sq m (2,809sq ft) of living space. To be fair, the design – by architect Vivian Cummins – really pays homage to the property’s 19th-century origins, in terms of tall ceilings and special layout. But along with this period vibe are contemporary interiors, such as Italian stone flooring and feature fireplaces. A lovely double-sided fireplace stands between the kitchen and living area, although it is rarely used as the owner says the underfloor heating has the place toasty all year.
All three bathrooms were given an overhaul, as were the central heating and water systems.
But what has changed most are the grounds upon which this charming house stands. "Effectively it was like a builders' yard and it really had no garden," says the owner, who is downsizing from the four-bedroom property. They have been professionally landscaped by Niamh Lawler, of The Garden of Eden Landscaping in Athy, who the owner describes as "absolutely brilliant".
Although many plants are now dormant with the onset of winter, colours on the specimen Acer palmatum are superb with their orange furnace hues.
“They are particularly good as they get lots of sun, so in turn a good amount of sugar, but what is incredible is – despite having identical backgrounds – they bloom two weeks apart”. With a courtyard, patios and lawn separated by pergolas, pots and planters it is really a lovely spot and perfect for entertaining in nice weather. A garage/workshop adjacent to the property could be used as an additional home office or study, should new owners wish.
Kilkea Bridge Cottage is now on the market through Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes seeking €585,000.