Victorian on five acres with equine credentials in Nore Valley

This generous, refurbished house in Co Kilkenny comes with a holiday rental cottage. The owner, Jane Darragh – wife of the late Paul Darragh – is downsizing but staying in the area

In the drawing room at Rathsnagadan House there's a framed, gold-harp embossed letter, dated 2005, from president Mary McAleese offering condolences on the death of Paul Darragh.

The celebrated showjumper became a household name in the 1970s – along with Eddie Macken, Capt Con Power and James Kernan – when the Irish team won the Nations' Cup three years in succession at the Dublin Horse Show.

The achievement, which allowed Ireland to keep forever the original, solid-gold Aga Khan trophy, greatly cheered the nation at a gloomy time in the country's history.

Paul Darragh died suddenly, aged 51, at home in Co Meath in January 2005. The letter is one of many mementoes retained by his widow Jane and the couple’s three children, Linda, Amy and Andrew.


Following her husband's death, Jane Darragh went back to college and later set up a catering business.

Having grown up in Co Laois she decided to "move back down south" and left Meath in 2007 when she bought Rathsnagadan House near Inistioge, Co Kilkenny.

She continues to be a major figure in the Irish equestrian world and is chairperson of a committee in the RDS which means, effectively, “running the Horse Show”.

She also breeds horses and travels throughout Ireland to judge at showjumping events.

After six happy years surrounded by “exquisite scenery and very friendly people” she has reluctantly decided to sell the house.

Although she plans to remain in Co Kilkenny she needs to downsize because her grown-up children have all emigrated or, as she ruefully puts it, “been exported” to London.

And so, Rathsnagadan – a Victorian dower house on five acres – is for sale through joint agents PN O'Gorman (New Ross) and Jordan Auctioneers (Newbridge) for €775,000.

River valley views
The house is in the serene Nore Valley with gorgeous views over the river south of Inistioge, one of Ireland's loveliest inland villages.

Darragh has refurbished the mid-19th century house, including re-wiring, re-plumbing and adding new central heating, new bathrooms and a kitchen, to create an elegant 339sq m (3,648 sq ft) home that is in impeccable condition.

Her catering business did not survive the economic crash but she harnessed her entrepreneurial skills into a new project and converted a stone outbuilding into a smart two-bedroom guest cottage, which she rents “mainly to British and American tourists” who come for the angling, walking, hunting and scenery. This source of income may interest potential buyers of the property.

The main house has three good-sized reception rooms (one leading to an outdoor patio and barbecue area overlooking the Nore Valley), a large kitchen, and four proper sized bedrooms, two of which are en suite and two of which share a spacious family bathroom.

The five acres include mature gardens, stables, two paddocks as well as a dog run.

The nearest village is The Rower, which Darragh says has "a very good, new primary school", and there are secondary schools in New Ross, a few miles down river.

The house is a two-hour drive from both Dublin and Cork. Waterford airport is a little over half an-hour away.