There aren't many homes in Ireland as close to the excitement and sporting possibilities of a racecourse as Hilltown Lodge. On private grounds on the edge of Bellewstown Racecourse, the vendor says the racecourse influence "is benign but not permanent since there are only two meetings a year. They're traditional, country-style occasions and the atmosphere during race week is phenomenal. There's a circuit walk around the racecourse that people love to use the rest of the time."
Horse racing is nothing new to Bellewstown; word has it that the fun began 2000 years ago, during the reign of Conary the Great, High King of Ireland. The first official recording, however, was not until 1726.
Hilltown Lodge is also a survivor with history. First built as a lodge on the vast Hilltown estate, which covered 3,000 acres in Co Meath in the late 1800s, it was much extended in 1996.
Architect Dawson Stelfox’s design created a good-sized, 210sq m (2,264sq ft), family home while carefully holding on to original lodge characteristics. (Stelfox, in 1993, was the first Irish man to climb Mount Everest.)
"We worked on it over the years," the vendor says, "made it a lovely home. Helene Broderick [interior designer] did a wonderful redesign a few years ago. We also planted specimen trees around in the grounds – an Australian pine, lots of beech and oak."
Joint agents Sotheby’s Realty and DNG Brady are seeking €650,000 for Hilltown Lodge and its surrounding acre of gardens.
The property has four bedrooms (two en suite), a country-style kitchen, three reception rooms and family bathroom in a layout that lends itself to changes of use.
There are latched doors with tongue-and-groove panelling, ornate, original-style windows, timber floors and rooms that flow pleasantly, one into the other. The relaxing, ground floor family room has a marble fireplace and French windows out to the gardens, the kitchen has a wealth of floor and wall fittings, good views and direct access to the garden.
A study, also on the ground floor, has a couple of deep-silled old-style windows, an open fireplace and a small, fitted bar. The ground floor bedroom is large, has an en suite, and French windows to the garden. One of the three-first floor bedrooms has particularly fine views from a terrace overlooking the racecourse and common.
It is a short trot from Hilltown Lodge to the village of Bellewstown; 45km (28 miles) to Dublin’s city centre and 11 km (6.9 miles) to Drogheda.