Georgian-style grandeur by the lake
Goblusk House was styled on a Palladian villa and lies on 20 acres of landscaped grounds on the shores of Lough Erne. It comes on the market asking €2.17 million
While the Irish countryside is replete with all manner of stately homes in varying states of repair, from pristine Palladian villas to crumbling Georgian estates, most rare are impressive modern interpretations of classic design.
When the late Northern Irish businessman and acclaimed rally driver Bertie Fisher and his wife Gladys set about building their dream home in 1994, they wanted to construct it as faithfully as they could to an original Georgian design. From the ruins of a mid-19th century dower house on the shores of Lough Erne, Goblusk House, on 20 acres was styled on Palladio’s 16th-century Villa Forni-Cerato in northern Italy.
Over a two-year period, leading Scottish conservation architect Nicholas Groves-Raines oversaw the painstaking and costly building project and his advice was followed to the letter. In addition, five acres of grounds were landscaped in keeping with the Georgian garden style. Lovingly tended by Gladys the gardens seem as though they have been here for many decades. A sweep of rolling landscaped lawn leads down to the lakeshore and there is a walled garden and paddocks as well as more formal gardens complete with follies and reading nooks. The Fishers invested in mature trees and planting to furnish out the estate, including several oak, rhododendron and hydrangea specimens.
Sadly the Fisher family didn’t get to enjoy the fruits of their labours for very long. In 2001 Bertie was piloting the family home by helicopter from a family celebration at Ashford Castle, when they ran into difficulty and crashed close to Goblusk. Bertie and two of their three children, Mark and Emma, were killed, while Gladys and their youngest son, Roy, survived. The tragic event shocked the Northern Ireland community where the Fisher family was widely known and respected for its hugely successful steel engineering works in Ballinamallard. The business was sold nine years ago to Severfield-Rowen, the largest structural steel specialist in the UK, for about £90 million (€100 million).
Now Gladys Fisher plans to move into Enniskillen town, and Goblusk House is on the market for £1.95 million (€2.17 million) through agent Knight Frank. The 591sq m (6,361sq ft) four-bedroom main house was completed in 1998 while the 19th-century courtyard, stable block and coach house, original to the dower house on the site, have been retained and restored.
Through the entrance hall with its Georgian-style fanlight and arched recesses is the reception hall, with marble fireplace and wrought-iron balustrade. Light floods down from the first-floor atrium.
The elegant drawing room to the front is dual aspect with an Adams-style fireplace and cornicework and coving. Across the hall, the fine dining room leads through double doors to the bright kitchen/family room with bespoke country-style units and a lovely arched window above the sink with views to the formal side garden. Off this is a living area with open fireplace. A long sun room off the kitchen features vaulted ceilings, porthole and arched windows and French windows lead out to a paved terrace and stunning views to Lough Erne below. A study and utility are tucked off the kitchen area.
Upstairs are five bedrooms including the master bedroom to the front of the house which has the same great lake views over Goblusk Bay, built-in wardrobes, an open fire place and access to another double bedroom. There is an adjoining bathroom with freestanding bath, and three further bedrooms, two with shower en suites.
A paved courtyard to the side of the main residence includes original stables, a number of stores and a converted coach house which is linked to the side of the main house. It is arranged as a comfortable two bedroom (one en suite) apartment, with a fully fitted kitchen/dining room and lounge with open fireplace. With its own entrance and driveway, it has obvious appeal for guest or staff use.
The extensive lawns and gardens have been meticulously designed and laid out. For example, a Georgian garden wall to the front of the house was moved block by block 12m back in order to better “frame” the property to the rear. There are water features and seating points dotted around the rolling grounds and the walled kitchen garden is easily accessed from the sunroom.
With its prominent position overlooking Lough Erne the lake as an amenity is obvious; Lough Erne Yacht Club is just a few minutes further along the shoreline and Manor House marina is also a short distance away. There is a large hangar on the grounds designed to accommodate a helicopter.
Its location just a three-minute drive from Enniskillen Airport and five minutes by boat from the five-star Lough Erne Hotel and Golf Resort where the G8 Summit was held in 2013 will add to Goblusk’s appeal for overseas’ buyers on the lookout for a weekend or holiday estate.
For euro or dollar investors the timing from a currency perspective couldn’t be better, as sterling continues to struggle amid Brexit fallout and there is the potential attraction of Northern Ireland for executives relocating from the UK.