Lough and loads of charm: waterfront Georgian house for €1.7m in Wicklow

Broadlough House, a Georgian lakefront home with a colourful history, has been tastefully adapted to offer all the comforts of the 21st century

The Broadlough is an oasis of watery calm just off a busy stretch of the M11 motorway between Rathnew village and Wicklow town.

Despite the name, this inlet of the Irish Sea – a tidal lake and estuary of the River Vartry – is elongated and narrow and surrounded by a verdant, lush landscape teeming with birdlife.

Close to the water's edge lies Broadlough House – an elegantly modernised Georgian residence on 72 acres – for sale, by private treaty, through Savills for €1.7 million.

Like many Irish country houses, its history is colourful and unexpected. As recently as the early 1950s, the house was used as a boarding ‘prep’ school – to prepare boys for the “Common Entrance’ exam to England’s public schools. Its principal was the fabulously titled Baron Metzradt-Uist and its chief patron was Arthur Barton, Church of Ireland archbishop of Dublin.


The prospectus promised an environment of “unusual beauty, spaciousness and health”; a diet based on the principles of Zurich nutritionist Dr Bircher-Benner, using fresh farm produce; and leisure activities for the children including rowing on the Broadlough and “fishing for trout or salmon in the Vartry at the back of the house”.

But the school was short-lived. Subsequent residents of Broadlough House included Scandinavian aristocracy; the operators of a guesthouse; and a Goodbody's stockbroker.

The current owner, Joe Cogan, bought the house 18 years ago when retiring home to Ireland after a global career with the multinational pharmaceutical company Pfizer. He and his Californian wife, Ann, are now downsizing but will be "sorry to leave this lovely, happy house".

Creature comforts
Ann's influence is palpable. Think fusty Georgian transformed by a welcome blast of American revolutionary spirit. All the period charm has been retained but the rattle and hum of draughty 18th-century interiors have been adapted to provide 21st-century creature comforts – including proper bathrooms (lots of them) and a high-tech heating system using a combination of oil and carefully-concealed solar panels.

There’s space aplenty (445.9sq m/4,800sq ft) for a large family who likes to entertain. The ground-floor has attractive parquet-floored reception rooms. Further in, there’s a comfortable sitting room, a properly-roofed sun room, a big, tiled kitchen and a separate wing with a bedroom, large study and bathroom – ideal for guests or maybe long-stay elderly parents.

Upstairs, all four bedrooms are en suite. The ‘master suite’ – an entire wing – is bigger than many Dublin apartments with French doors leading out to a terrace.

There are lawns and gardens to the front and side of the house, a tennis court and a crunchy-gravelled courtyard with splendidly restored red-brick coach houses and stables.

The shallow waters of the Broadlough lap the edge of the property which includes two private lake islands. The 72 acres come with full sporting rights and, although there is summer grazing, the land, a ‘Special Area of Conservation’, is more wildlife reserve than farm. Some of the land – 28 acres – is let, long-term, to a local farmer.

The house is within commuting distance of Dublin (45km) and Wicklow town, which is served by train.