Horse lovers' haven in Wicklow for €975,000

Freynestown in Dunlavin boasts stunning gardens, guest wing and wine cellar

 

English Ballet, a chestnut mare, and her foal bask under the sun in one of the five paddocks at Freynestown Stud in Dunlavin.

Unaware that her sister Star of Seville took the grand trophy at the French Oaks last week, she is here under the watchful eye of Yvonne Nicoll and husband Adrian, an international bloodstock agent.

The bloodstock industry runs deep through the couple’s veins. Yvonne is the daughter of a national hunt trainer, and Adrian, who is chairman of BBA Ireland (the bloodstock agency) and known as “king of the ring” in equine circles, is the son of 1948 Olympic bronze medallist show jumper Henry Nicoll.

“In addition to good breeding it’s all about the land,” says Yvonne. “We chose Freynestown, as it has some of the best limestone land in the area.”

Young foals need a whopping amount of calcium for bone development. This comes from the nutrient-rich grasses, which thanks to Ireland’s humidity are in constant supply, and the hard water the limestone land produces.

 

Copper beech

Two other factors that make Freynestown attractive to breeders are the post-and-rail fencing and shelter – which comes in the form of copper beech hedging and two all-weather paddocks.

“If you had to install the rails it would cost in the region of €30,000 per paddock and you would have to wait years for the shelter to grow,” says Yvonne.

The property, which the couple have called home for 25 years was built 40 years ago by horse breeder Barbara Herring.

Sweeping driveway

The Virginia creeper-clad house, extending to 372sq m, is surrounded by 24 acres of paddocks at the end of a sweeping driveway. Inside, antiques and equestrian paintings fill the house, giving a relaxed, period feel. An elegant drawingroom with an antique fireplace opens out onto the south-facing rear garden. Laid out with stunning herbaceous borders filled with hostas, lupins and delicate aquilegia, it makes a striking sea of purple against a backdrop of vivid green lawns.

The property also features a dual-aspect livingroom, utility, formal diningroom and a wine cave.

Upstairs are three bedrooms, which overlook the gardens, and the master would give any five-star hotel suite a run for its money.

A separate guest wing houses two en-suite bedrooms, and a living area opens out on to the yard which has nine loose boxes and tack room – where visitors can survey horses over a morning coffee.

Freynestown Stud would suit equine enthusiasts, or those with an interest in “pin hooking”, which involves buying a foal or yearling to sell on – a bit like property flipping.

English Ballet’s foal is learning manners at Freynestown to prepare her for her big day when she parades the ring at Tattersalls or Goffs. And what a place for lessons in equine etiquette.

For sale through Jordan Auctioneers asking €975,000.

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