This is a house to love and live in, every square foot of it interesting and every square inch of it painstakingly and appreciatively restored or rebuilt. Knocknagin House has a drawingroom of impressive length, height, light and elegance, and a couple of orangeries of even greater length, height, light and elegance. It has two kitchens – one for family, one for serious cooking – two wings, and French windows everywhere. All of this encloses a courtyard garden where there are roses and climbing plants, wisteria, rosemary and box hedging.
This is also a house with four acres of restored and replanted gardens, trees, walks, hedgerows and paddock. A kitchen garden has vegetables and herbs, a wild garden has bluebells and there is a winding, high-hedged drive to the house.
The vendors, no strangers to restoring period houses, bought Knocknagin House in 1994. They arrived, fresh from restoring a Georgian house in Dublin, to the challenges of “a beautiful, derelict wreck with trees growing where the drawing room is now and rabbits living under the floors. You see what you’re getting when you buy a derelict house.”
They lived in a caravan and got on with restoring and rebuilding a house that was first built around 1680. “It was amazing to be doing it,” they say, “the happiest days of our lives were living in that caravan.”
They reused original materials where they could. Most rooms have polished floorboards and upgraded sash or French windows – the latter a feature added in the 1860s. Outside, salvaged stone walls and outhouses were once part of the village of Knocknagin, cobbles part of a road connected to the Dublin-Drogheda stagecoach road.
Since 1680, owners of Knocknagin have included Robert Echlin of Rush, an agent of the Duke of York; the family of Henry Martin (1721-1799), the King family and, from 1827, the family of William O'Reilly, responsible for adding French windows, a ballroom and more. The Wade family bought in 1891 and the vendors bought from the Wade family.
Today’s house has a three storey central block, a wing at both gables and a floor area of 621sq m (6,684sq ft). The extensive living accommodation includes five reception rooms, two kitchens, an attic playroom and four bedrooms – the main en suite with a dressing room. The second kitchen, shower room and offices could easily be converted to a self-contained apartment. Agent Colliers is seeking €1.65 million for Knocknagin House.