Village house down by a third


CO WATERFORD:The home of one of the last surviving members of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy has had a price cut

THE DROP in house prices has certainly been egalitarian. One of last surviving members of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy has cut the price of his Co Waterford home by almost quarter-of-a-million euro.

Gerald Spring Rice, the 6th Baron Monteagle of Brandon, put his home in Stradbally, Co Waterford on the market two years ago for €785,000. Glenamara House is still for sale – by private treaty through Shelley and Purcell of Carrick-on-Suir and Knight Frank – but with a revised asking price of €550,000, a cut of €235,000 since the summer of 2009.

Agent John Shelley thought the new figure was “very reasonable” and said the property “should be very attractive at this price” although he acknowledged that it’s difficult to value property in this market as so little is selling.

The 19th-century, 325sq m (3,500sq ft), five-bedroom house is just minutes from the sea and prettily situated in the centre of Stradbally, an unspoilt village on the Copper Coast. The house sits on a one-acre site featuring lovely walled gardens with mature beech trees, lawns, herbaceous borders and distant sea views.

A coach yard contains handsome stone outbuildings. Stradbally is approximately an hour and 25 minutes from Cork airport, 40 minutes from Waterford airport, and 15 minutes from Dungarvan. The opening of the new M9 motorway last year has also significantly reduced journey times between Dublin and Waterford.

Lord Monteagle – now 84 – was reluctant to leave Ireland, but he and his wife, Lady Anne, decided to move to England to be closer to family.

The peerage was created in 1839 by Queen Victoria for his great, great grandfather, Thomas Spring Rice, an MP for Limerick city and chancellor of the exchequer.

He spent his childhood in Munster, first at Limerick’s Mount Trenchard estate and later in a house on Valentia Island off the Kerry coast. But from there he was dispatched – according to the time-honoured traditions of the nobility – to be educated at Harrow School. This was followed by a stint in the Irish Guards and then a career in the City of London. For 18 years, he served as a member of “Her Majesty’s Body Guard of the Corps of Gentlemen at Arms” – the elite group who attend Queen Elizabeth at royal occasions, such as the state opening of parliament and Buckingham Palace garden parties.

Lord Monteagle was, as he put it himself to The Irish Times, “kicked out” of the House of Lords in 1999 when Tony Blair abolished automatic membership for hereditary peers.

His decision to sell brings to a close six generations of the family’s involvement in Ireland. The heir apparent, his only son, the Hon Charles James Spring Rice (57), lives and works in England.