Mansion and millhouse in a magical Liffeyside setting for €1.3m

Temple Mills House, Celbridge, is a carefully restored Georgian house on seven acres complete with guest cottage

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Address: Temple Mills House, Temple Hills Road, Celbridge, Co Kildare
Price: €1,300,000
Agent: DNG Celbridge
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Temple Mills House is one of those rare properties that gets under one’s skin – in a positive sense.

Perhaps it’s the location on the tree-lined banks of the Liffey, or the island – created by the mill race, laden with bluebells and wild garlic, or indeed the property itself – which dates back to 1785. The combination of the waterfront setting, mature gardens and unusual outbuildings offers a rare opportunity for a home just outside Celbridge in Co Kildare.

Built by the Shaw brothers who operated the mill for their woollen industry, over the years it has had quite a salubrious legacy of residents. One of the Barton family – of the French Barton and Guestier vineyards has called Temple Mills home, as did John Ellis, whose previous home was Straffan House – now the K Club. Ellis used the old mill itself as a motor museum for his collection of vintage cars.

The main house, cloaked in Virginia creeper and heady with summer scents of Chinese wisteria draped over the entrance, extends to 455sq m, but none of the rooms have that overly grand feel that houses of this size can sometimes have. It is more understated comfortable elegance.


The current owners who have lived here for the past 23 years purchased the house “which took a year and a fortune to restore”.

Under the guidance of conservation architect John O’Connell – whose work also includes the restoration of Fota, Charleville and Abbeyleix Houses – “every joist and timber was examined, reinforced and made safe.”

In addition much plumbing and electrical work was carried out, so the Georgian house has all its period features restored combined with all modern conveniences.

The architraves and cornicing are particularly impressive; “they had been painted over so many times you couldn’t see any detail and had to be chipped back by hand” says the owner who is downsizing due to an empty nest.

Indeed, during restoration some wonderful fireplaces hidden under years of paint were revealed – the piece in the drawing room is worth a particular mention.

The property now has six bedrooms – a seventh was converted into a large dressing room and en-suite for the principal room which overlooks the front lawn.

Particularly interesting

There are three formal reception rooms in addition to a morning breakfast room and relaxed family room – which lies adjacent to the country-style Wedgewood blue kitchen.

In the basement lie a warren of rooms, some of which are used as storage, others as a wine cellar, utility and more of which could be restored – this is in addition to the 455sq m upstairs.

What makes the property particularly interesting are the buildings scattered around the grounds. The remains of a castle dating from the 12th century sit alongside the old mill wall and what was in its heyday a ballroom has now been converted to a guest cottage – complete with latticed windows. The old mill itself, though now housing just an Olympic-sized trampoline, would make a remarkable loft conversion and has the benefit of a separate entrance – but also links to the main house.

Furthermore, the property retains its arched locks on either side of the mill race, and a Victorian bridge leads to a private island where the family have bathed in the waters of the Liffey. Though a tad overgrown a couple of goats would do wonders to clear the undergrowth, but to be honest they would never want to leave.

The gardens which extend to seven acres in total, include formal spaces – with a pair of graceful Cornus Controversa currently in full bloom. The rest are lawns, woodlands and a paddock, where some of the old rose bushes are over ten feet tall.

“Sleeping to the sound of rushing water is just heavenly and what I will miss most,” says the owner who has placed this most unique and interesting property on the market through DNG Celbridge with an asking price of €1.3m.

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about property, fine arts, antiques and collectables