Magical Wicklow escape with tree houses and a river running through it for €750K

Brook House is charm itself, but that’s before you discover the handcrafted treehouses in the grounds of an old forge that inspired JM Synge

  • Address: Brook House, Ballinacarrig Lower, Ballinaclash, Rathdrum, Co Wicklow
  • Price: € 750,000
  • Agent: Savills
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Set on the site of an old forge reputed to be the one that inspired JM Synge to write The Tinker’s Wedding, Brook House, on the banks of the Owenbeg river about 4km south of Rathdrum in Co Wicklow is the kind of rural retreat that many of us dream about owning at some stage.

And the beauty here is that all of the hard work is already done. This granite-fronted house was built in 2009, on the site of an older dwelling, and comes with all the creature comforts of modern life.

Brook House, Ballinaclash Co Wicklow
Brook House, Ballinaclash Co Wicklow
Brook House, Ballinaclash Co Wicklow
Brook House, Ballinaclash Co Wicklow

It was a place the owner knew from her childhood spent holidaying in a local B&B with her mother who hailed from Rathdrum. “As kids we played in the derelict mill nearby and walked the banks of the river. It was a happy time that felt like heaven on earth to me.”

Finding her way back took several decades. Living in London and renovating flats for a living, a cancer diagnosis that she thought she wasn’t going to survive prompted her “to build my dream house and to live that dream before it was too late”.

Set on about two acres of landscaped gardens Brook House is a bit special. Accessed via a romantic stone bridge, and on an elevated setting overlooking the Owenbeg river, it is a haven for wildlife. The owner regularly sees otters, lured by the fat trout in the river, and birdlife aplenty, including kingfishers, goldfinches, siskens and arctic red poles.

The rustic kitchen has vaulted ceilings with gorgeous timber crossbeams

The owner paid €505,000 for the three-bed property in 2009, and almost completely rebuilt it to a new architectural design. It now extends to a sizeable 161sq m (1,800sq ft) with direct access from most of the rooms to the garden.

Brook House, Ballinaclash Co Wicklow
Brook House, Ballinaclash Co Wicklow

The rustic kitchen has vaulted ceilings with gorgeous timber crossbeams, a Cotswold stone floor, solid timber in-frame units painted a duck-egg blue and a hand-made ceramic tile splashback.

Panoramic views

Steps from here lead down to the dining room that frames panoramic views of the Owenbeg river and its surrounding native woodlands, which are protected. Across the hall is the sitting room, which has the same style of panelled timber ceilings. Underfoot is a reclaimed French oak floor the owner sourced at Lisburn-based reclamation specialists Wilson’s Yard and the room is warmed by a wood-burning stove bought from James Byrne & Sons, Aughrim.

Brook House, Ballinaclash Co Wicklow
Brook House, Ballinaclash Co Wicklow

The back of the house is finished in reclaimed brick from the Belfast docklands and much of the furniture and furnishings came from the owner’s flats in London or were sourced from antique shops and markets. 

Two of the three bedrooms have double patio doors out to the verandah. The master has its own terrace with raised flower beds and steps leading through a patio to the river beyond.

Horticulturalist Mark Kelly of Kelly Garden Services helped with the planting. In addition the property comes with two charming treehouses built using timber and trees from the land by master craftsman Patrick Dickinson. One overhangs the river, the other stands in a wildflower meadow.

Brook House, Ballinaclash Co Wicklow
Brook House, Ballinaclash Co Wicklow
Brook House, Ballinaclash Co Wicklow
Brook House, Ballinaclash Co Wicklow

The riverside treehouse has two-storeys, is wired for electricity and has a balcony overhanging the running water. Brook House has been operated as a short-let to weekenders in recent years. 

It’s for sale for €750,000 through agents Savills. The M11 is a 20-minute drive, and Dublin city centre is a 66km commute.