To the manor born at cinematic Wicklow pile for €2.25m

The Manor has been a backdrop for movies, a guest house and a much loved family home

  • Address: The Manor, Manor Kilbride, Blessington, Co Wicklow
  • Price: € 2,250,000
  • Agent: Colliers International
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It comes as no surprise to hear that The Manor, an imposing country house at the end of a winding driveway off a country road 10km outside Blessington, Co Wicklow, has movie star credentials.

It recently played a starring role in a film located on a fine country pile. We Have Always Lived in the Castle, a screen adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s Gothic mystery novel, was shot here over six weeks in 2016, as was the more lighthearted 1990’s movie Widow’s Peak.

The Manor in Manor Kilbride is a protected structure with a number of distinctive features, including grand reception rooms with panelled ceilings and a drawing room where walls are lined with 14 landscape murals hand-painted by Irish artist Edwin Hayes in the 1840s. 

Another key feature is the garden, a labour of love for Margaret Cully, who moved here with her late husband Charlie 52 years ago and does most of the gardening herself. (Charlie was instrumental in introducing the hugely successful Daffodil Day to Ireland for the Irish Cancer Society.)

“I think anyone taking on this place must have to love a garden,” she says. “From early spring there are thousands of daffodils, bluebells, a display of rhododendrons – some over 100 years old.” Very tall trees – including Scots pine, Spanish chestnut and black poplar – edge a smooth expanse of lawn beyond which is a private lake; at the other side of the house there’s a walled vegetable garden where Margaret grows fruit and veg including raspberries, artichokes and asparagus. There are several ducks in an inner courtyard with a pond at its heart and a small bridge along the driveway spans the Brittas river. 

 For the past decade Manor Kilbride has been included in Hidden Ireland’s country houses – the family takes in guests from May to September – where it’s described as “a rambling family home of great charm and character”. (It gets glowing reviews on Trip Advisor.)

Now the 650sq m (7,000sq ft) two-storey over basement five/six-bed on 13.7 acres is for sale through Colliers International for €2.25 million. 

The house dates from about 1835 when it was built on the site of an earlier house, then extended over the years, it has been well-maintained: it has an abundance of period features, including large marble fireplaces, shutters on most windows, decorative cornicing and centre roses and a striking stained-glass cupola above the staircase in the main front hall. But it is most likely that new owners will seek to revamp it throughout, for example, upgrading the kitchen and bathrooms: four of the bedrooms are en suite, all smart but all with bath and no showers; the large and comfortable terracotta-floored kitchen is a fine space with a lot of dated pine units. 

A somewhat modest front door opens into a large square front hall painted a vivid green. Halfway down the long main hall, a solidly-built cantilevered staircase is lit from above by the stained-glass cupola. There are several rooms off the hall: a modest-sized sitting room, a study and towards the end, at the more formal end of the house, a morning room with its original floorboards, marble fireplace and two tall windows. 

The more baronial receptions include the huge formal drawing room with its very tall windows, all with shutters – which Margaret closes every night – and window seats, overlooking the lawn. The panelled ceiling is painted white and the walls lined with the Hayes murals. The dining room beside it is a classic of its time, lined with panels painted red; it has floor-to-ceiling windows and an elaborate timber-panelled ceiling.

The dining room opens into a back hall (with back stairs to the first floor) where the large kitchen is concealed behind a modest door. It looks out to the courtyard where ducks waddle around a pond and from here there is access to a big family room with wood-burning stove. 

The bedrooms are doubles, each one prettily decorated to a country style – four are en suite and two have potential for walk-in dressing rooms. There are lovely views of the lake from a bay window in the main bedroom. Another, with a striking turquoise carpet, has steps down to its en suite.

Elsewhere, there’s a door into a separate small self-contained apartment. New owners might initially need a map to navigate their way about this rambling house – and it’s likely they will seek to create a more modern kitchen/living room wing.

The basement hasn’t been converted but includes a utility room, the old kitchen, a games room, stores and a wine cellar. Outside, there are six lofted stables in the courtyard.

The house has oil-fired central heating and solid fuel heating, and a mains water supply as well as its own spring water supply.

Margaret says The Manor was a great family house for rearing her four children and she would love to see another family moving in for the next generation. It is located about half a mile off the N81 shortly before Blessington. (However don’t follow Google maps’ scenic route from Dublin if you’re visiting).