Lying on 100 acres of woodland and top-quality farmland, Rocklow Estate first featured on an Irish Land Survey map in 1778. Then occupied by the Lowe family and referred to as Rocklowe on the map, the 18th-century residence was once home to the Barton family of winemaking fame. It subsequently belonged to the Massey family after the betrothal of Beatrice Louise Barton to Hugh Eyre Francis Massey.
The three-bay, three-storey over basement house is described as “retaining much of its original form” and where “floors of the building are differentiated by the use of diminishing windows which in turn emphasise the verticality of the structure” on the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. A two-bay, two-storey extension was added in 1850 and a large conservatory in 1900, which now gives the Georgian pile a whopping 1,000sq m (10,763sq ft) of floor space.
Having fallen into disrepair in the 1960s, it was purchased by the Ronan family, who restored and still occupy the seven-bedroom residence. It was brought back to its former glory by Dorothy and Thomas Ronan, who was a keen huntsman and joint master of the Tipperary fox hounds. He also established a successful bloodstock operation, especially in the dam line thought his broodmare Persian Union, which went on to produce successful winners – most notably Golden Horus, who won the Gimcrack Stakes and the first stallion to stand at Coolmore Stud, then owned by RAF pilot wing commander Tim Vigors.
Adjoining the house is a charming courtyard notable for its limestone arcade and other embellishments. With three coach houses, seven Victorian stables, a feed house and tack room in addition to further outbuildings and farmyards, there are 72.5 acres under grass with 10 post-and-rail paddocks. The brochure describes the land as “the highest quality and used for the rearing of equine stock”. The remainder of the land consists of 20 acres of mature woodland and three acres of pleasure grounds around the house which boasts both a river and an ornamental lake, formed by a substantial weir over the river.
The size of the reception hall, which itself lies inside an entrance hall, gives an indication of the overall expanse and proportions of the rooms set over the four-storey house. Seven bedrooms lie on the first and second floors with six reception rooms at hall level, and that is before entering the entertainment wing. This, a later addition with vaulted ceilings, consists of a ballroom, vestibule, a timber-lined former chapel and two ante rooms. The basement has two wine cellars and a host of rooms, such as boiler, boot and laundry rooms that help keep the 1,000sq m house running smoothly. As you would expect, a gate lodge is at the main entrance to the tree-lined avenue. It has recently been upgraded and has two bedrooms.
The location has garnered international equestrian fame due to local equine establishments such as Coolmore and Ballydoyle. For golf enthusiasts, courses can be found at the nearby facilities at Mount Juliet, Clonmel and Cashel. And Fethard itself is a hidden little gem with heritage woven into the fabric of the 13th-century walls that surround it.
Rocklow Estate has been launched on the market through Colliers International with an asking price of €3 million.