The setting for 5 The Orchard is one of its real selling points — the owner says she still feels she is “entering a magical escape” when driving through the gates of Headfort Demesne, on the banks of the River Blackwater near Kells, in Co Meath.
Though the origins of the demesne are traced all the way back to the 1600s, the main house — a renowned boarding school since 1959 — was constructed in the 1760s for Thomas Taylour, who later became the first Earl of Bective. Over the years, buildings in the original courtyard were converted into really lovely homes in the form of restored stables, barns and carriage houses.
Seven detached houses were added in 2000 and their design fits nicely with the overall aesthetic of the demesne. “I rented in the courtyard for 10 years while waiting to buy the ideal house,” says the owner of the property she purchased in 2019 for €650,000.
Extending to 161sq m (1,736sq ft) with an E1 Ber rating, the property, in turnkey condition, has three bedrooms and three reception rooms: an elegant drawingroom with a white Regency-style fireplace, a sittingroom and a light-filled diningroom, off of which lies a maple shaker-style kitchen.
‘I miss breakfast rolls and the sense of humour but our life in the US has been as normal as anyone else’s with young kids’
Simply painted in white tones, there is a lovely feel to the place and it’s all about pared-back elegance. The three bedrooms upstairs are peaceful and have super views to the surrounding parkland.
Located on the outskirts of the heritage town of Kells, there is now a new walkway that leads to Kells from the estate, which takes about 15-20 minutes. The walk is bordered on either side by golf courses, one of which is the Headfort championship course.
For those with a penchant for fishing, Headfort is situated on a particular stretch of the River Blackwater well known for coarse fishing, and local amenities include GAA, rugby, tennis and soccer clubs.
Inside the pillared stately entrance to the demesne are meandering driveways through woodlands, which are landscaped with a noted collection of rhododendron, and these walks and its super location, an hour from Dublin, will add to the overall charm of the place.
For families to have a school on the doorstep is a huge benefit, and the owner, whose family is abroad, is not using the house as much, so has placed number 5 The Orchard on the market through joint agents Eoin O’Neill Property Advisers and REA T&J Gavigan, seeking €695,000.