This 19th-century building in Clare has played host to stars from every spectrum, writes Trish Dromey
Built in the 19th century to accommodate horses, the coach house in Quin has more recently become a high-end rental where guests have included the late Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan, actor Richard E Grant, and the entire cast of the Vikings TV series.
For a guide of €595,000, it offers a colourful history, over 2,000 sq ft of slightly medieval- style accommodation, as well as a characterful pub situated in a stone outbuilding in the corner of the garden.
It’s most likely that the East Clare coach house was built to provide stabling for Ballyhannon Castle, a 15th-century property located alongside it, which was renovated by Texas oil heiress Elizabeth Phillips in the 1970s.
The coach house itself was renovated in 1995 by an owner who turned the old stone building into a four/five-bed property with exposed stone walls and beams and decorated it in a style appropriate to its age.
Occupants during the 1990s included Dolores O’Riordan and her husband, Don Burton, who lived there for close to a year.
Current owners Margaret and Liam Moore bought both the coach house and Ballyhannon Castle in the early 2000s. They moved in to the coach house intending to live there but moved out again to facilitate a booking made by previous owners — and then didn’t return.
For the last 14 years, they have been renting out the two properties, offering the medieval castle and its coach house, together or separately for weddings and events, advertising it as a “once upon a time experience”.
The website shows the cost of renting the coach house was €1,500 for a single night while the price for the two properties together for one night was €3,500.
The owners say that over the years, guests have included a US astronaut and politicians, as well as hypnotist Keith Barry who rented it for his 40th birthday party, and actor Woody Harrelson. The cast of Vikings apparently spent a weekend at the coach house, on a team-building exercise.
Ms Moore says the property has been used in film production and been rented by some well known names, including a few who wanted a secluded time-out and requested that their presence not be revealed.
When the owners purchased the coach house, it had already been extensively renovated and fitted with double-glazed windows and electric heating.
The couple haven’t made significant alterations other than to move an internal wall to increase the size of the sitting room and move the kitchen and put in two wood pellet stoves. They also furnished the property using a mix of old and new. “Because of the beauty of the stone walls and beams, anything works,” says Ms Moore.
The front entrance opens into a long timber-floored, stone-walled living/dining room with a stove that according to the property website has on occasion been used to seat up to 70 guests.
To the rear of the property is a large timber-floored glass conservatory while adjoining the living/dining room is a kitchen with painted timber units, a stove, and a staircase to the first floor.
The ground floor has an additional room with an en suite bathroom, which can be used as a fifth bedroom, a study, or a living room.
The first floor has a bathroom and four double bedrooms — some with exposed stonework and some with plaster walls. The master bedroom has exposed stonework and ceiling beams as well an en suite.
Overlooking Ballyhannon Castle at the front, the coach house has a site of over three-quarters of an acre. At its boundary wall, underneath the 100ft high Castle tower, in a corner of the garden, is the coach house’s private pub.
Over 300 sq ft in size, it has stone walls, a fireplace, a bar counter with high stools, and is decorated with glasses, flags, and knick-knacks to resemble an authentic Irish shebeen.
Inside the high limestone walls which surround the property are lawned gardens that have also been used for marquees to accommodate large parties.
Diarmuid McMahon of Sherry Fitzgerald McMahon says this is an amazing period property which could either be bought as a private home or used, as it has been, as an upmarket tourist rental, or a mix of both.
Located at Castlefergus, 4km from Quin village and around 4.5km from Dromoland Castle, the coach house is within a 15-minute drive of Shannon Airport.
The owners sold Ballyhannon Castle last year for €1.175 million.
VERDICT: A property with old-world charm and a colourful past