Your very own Ashford castle: Contemporary meets classic in unique Co Wicklow home

Glanmore Castle, JM Synge’s childhood home, is on the market for €1.65m

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Address: Glanmore Castle, Ashford, Co Wicklow
Price: €1,650,000
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald Catherine O'Reilly
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Glanmore Castle in Co Wicklow has had quite a few incarnations since it was first constructed in the 1760s. It was – according to the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage – initially built as a country house.

In 1803, the Synge family engaged architect Francis Johnston to enlarge and reconstruct the property, with the inventory noting that "in spite of the significant changes of use, this house remains a positive asset to the local heritage".

Johnston was one of Ireland's most noted architects at the time and is remembered for his designs for the GPO in Dublin, Townley Hall in Drogheda and Charleville Castle in Co Offaly, which was considered one of the finest castles in the country. He also designed Garvey House in Co Tyrone, which is said to have cost £70,000 (or €7 million in today's money), which effectively bankrupted his client, Nathaniel Montgomery Moore.

After its enlargement and castellation, Glanmore – the childhood home of playwright JM Synge – became dilapidated and was again restored in 1930 only to become derelict again by the 1940s.


In the 1960s it was subdivided into five “apartments”, which was a bit of a misleading designation given their size and stately feel.

Change came yet again when two of those were amalgamated into one unit, when previous owners combined the apartments numbered one and two.

Views of the gallops

The property was last on the market in 2016, when the current owners paid €960,000 for the 431sq m (4,639sq ft) pile, which has views across to the gallops at Devil’s Glen Equestrian Centre.

The current owners have undertaken quite a bit of work since its purchase. “We had to replace the entire roof as it was completely rotten, and we added new flooring with underfloor heating, as well as a new kitchen.”

The family are moving back to the UK for work reasons: “We really thought that it would be our home for life. It is such a special place and difficult to leave, but life dictates we move to the UK. Even though the property is not detached, because of the layout and the gardens it feels completely private and we also have lovely neighbours.”

You might expect castle interiors to be dark, but nothing could be further from the truth here. The interiors are bright, airy and fresh, combining period details with contemporary style.

Laid out over three floors, the castle has a lovely turret that adds charm to this unique space. On the upper levels are four double bedrooms, including the master suite, which has a reading room in the turret space.

Bounded by mature trees, surrounded by rolling hills and lying on 0.8 of a hectare (2 acres) of gardens, it’s like an oasis of pleasure grounds 46km from Dublin. “Even in lockdown you really appreciate the space and size of the gardens, and the ability to sit outside and have lazy breakfasts on the terrace,” the owners said.

This most unique property is now on the market through Sherry FitzGerald Catherine O'Reilly seeking €1.65 million.

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle

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