Living up to its name, Bellevue House and Estate takes in some lovely views from its elevated position along 2km of lake frontage over the eastern shores of Lough Derg, and the verdant vistas of the Tipperary countryside.
Lying on grounds extending to 101 hectares (250 acres) at the end of a meandering 1.2km driveway, the stately home dates all the way back to 1750, when it was in the ownership of the Sadlier family. They originally descended from Col Thomas Sadlier of Sopwell Hall, which is another great demesne currently on the market in Tipperary through Colliers.
One of the family, Ralph "Rafe" Sadlier, features prominently in Hilary Mantel's Thomas Cromwell trilogy , and his family represented counties Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford, Galway, Mayo and Tipperary in parliament at various times during the 17th century. They at one time owned – or, more correctly, were granted – large tracts of land in the North Riding of Co Tipperary by Oliver Cromwell.
Described as a gentleman's residence, the construction of the seven-bay, two-storey house is credited to John Chawner, for a Mr Charles Sadlier. Of interest is the cut-stone ashlar limestone façade against a striking cut-stone cornice.
The property, approached through imposing wrought-iron gates, was purchased by James King, chairman of GPA, in 1997, when it was in a state of complete disrepair: at that time trees grew out of the chimneys. All the restoration work was carried out pre-2003, prior to the property being entered on the Register of Protected Structures.
Interestingly, an earlier, more modest farmhouse, which is thought to be a steward or farm manager’s house, occupied the site near the stone courtyard and large walled garden, and this appears to have been incorporated into the structure that exists today.
Painstaking restoration has returned period features to their former glory within its 915sq m (9,900sq ft) of accommodation.
An imposing reception hall has polished timber flooring and panelled walls with matching alcoves. A stone chimney-piece with a stove inset takes centre stage, and the now restored intricate plasterwork on the ceiling gives an indication to the level of detail that has gone into its repair.
A formal diningroom in deep crimson is warmed by a most impressive chimneypiece. Its dual aspect gives lovely views down the wooded avenue and to Lough Derg. A similarly impressive fireplace – in the manner of Pietro Bossi – with neoclassical design lies in a formal drawingroom. A host of other rooms, including a sittingroom, cloakroom, family room and kitchen/breakfast room lie at this level, as does a large butler's pantry, for ease of service when entertaining.
An unexpected find is a cinema room which lies on the first-floor return. This has a timber-lined ceiling and shares this level with two double en-suite bedrooms.
There are three further bedrooms on the top floor, with the principal bedroom being a really delightful space, as it has exceptional views of the surrounding parkland and a marble fireplace. From here an archway leads to a small sunroom – with more verdant views – and a spacious walk-in wardrobe.
At basement level, where the ceilings are lined with timber and the floors are tiled, are two large offices, a gym, boot room and storage.
When King restored the house, he also undertook three courtyards that lie directly behind the residence. Here, cut-stone sheds have been re-roofed and remodelled, while a large barn has been converted into a remarkable entertaining and office space with a nod to Scandinavian design.
A walled garden with gardener’s cottage adjoins the courtyard via a gated arch and is laid out with fruit trees and a multitude of flowering shrubs. Three stables, which are partially refurbished, lie adjacent to a grooms’ cottage as do three coach houses that could be converted into accommodation, subject to planning.
Along the shoreline to Lough Derg lies a stunning traditional stone-built boathouse, which has capacity to accommodate two lake boats. The harbour itself has capacity to moor two larger cruisers or sailing boats – up to a maximum draught of 1m.
Grounds of 250 acres are laid out as parkland, paddocks and pastures. Some of the land is in commercial forestry, mainly a hardwood plantation. The premiums and grants in respect of this planting have expired, so income could arise from timber as a result of thinning the woodlands.
“Bellevue is unusual in the fact that it is more comfortable than vast,” says Callum Bain of Colliers, who is handling the sale of the Ber-exempt residence. The superb estate, with that all-important water access, is now on the market seeking €4.8 million.