Kildare estate on 10 acres with Silken Thomas link for €4.15m

Seven-bedroom turnkey home has indoor swimming pool and gardens by prize-winning designer

  • Address: Rathmore House Rathmore Naas Co Kildare
  • Price: € 4,150,000
  • Agent: Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes

The small hamlet of Rathmore, just outside Naas, Co Kildare, has a line of 18th-century artisan dwellings known as Silk Row. They were built to house Huguenot silk workers who had fled France to escape religious persecution. At the time there was a silk factory in the village, and these luxury items were then sold at Le Favre Haberdashery at 101 Grafton Street in the late 1700s. But well before this time – in fact two centuries prior – the 10th earl of Kildare had a penchant for the luxurious fabric, so much so that he was known as Silken Thomas. In 1534 his manor at Rathmore was forfeited to the crown as a result of a revolt, and his insurgency is said to have caused Henry VIII to pay more attention to Irish matters, and was a factor in the establishment of the kingdom of Ireland which existed from 1542 until 1800.

While the little village was home to a thriving silk industry, in medieval times it was a border fortress at the edge of what was then the Pale. In some ways the estate today known as Rathmore House could be described as such, as it is a totally private house hidden away on 10 acres just 13 miles from Dublin city.

While it is not the original property taken by the crown from Silken Thomas – as it is just over a century old – it does have a Tudor air about it, with front-facing gables of varying heights and decorative timber work.

Purchased 32 years ago by the current owner, who says her first three words when she saw the house were “This is it” after looking for a home for a long time, and despite it needing an awful lot of work.

Along with renovating the entire house, landscape architect Jane McCorkell was engaged to design a patio to the rear that would marry the space off the large dine-in kitchen and a newly built pool house. Winner of seven gold medals and four Best in Show awards at Bloom, McCorkell installed a really beautiful space with granite paving framed by box hedging with bursts of white and purple from carefully planted lavender and Hydrangea aborescens “Annabelle” with their oversized hardy blossoms.

An indoor pool now sits adjacent to the house in a building matching the look of the original property. Here the owner engaged artist Patsy FitzGerald to draw a huge mural that takes up an entire wall of the pool house – reminiscent of scenes of Italianate splendour. This room has hosted two family weddings; one where the pool was covered over and used as a dancefloor and another where the pool itself was illuminated with floating candles and flowers for a smaller, more intimate affair.

There isn’t a blade of grass out of place on the 10 acres that surround the property, including an interior courtyard, two stables and paddocks and a now restored Victorian garden which gives lovely views from the principal bedroom. The same can be said for the interiors, as they are in turnkey condition and all new owners will have to do is unpack and have a swim to relax.

One of the largest rooms in the house is the reception hall, a perfect spot for entertaining and pre-dinner drinks. There are a number of other reception rooms that include a cinema room, playroom and study along with more formal drawing and dining rooms. It is all a bit of a moveable feast in the 980sq m (10,549sq ft) of perfectly coiffed space. It is BER-exempt.

What is really lovely about Rathmore House, besides its superb gardens, is its simple understated luxury. The owner is rightsizing as the family have flown the nest and seven bedrooms are now surplus to requirements. It will make an ideal family home for those who enjoy private entertaining just half an hour to the capital, and there is room for more than one pony on the land. The property is on the market through Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes seeking €4.15 million.