Trish Dromey explores a large former parochial house which now provides a warm welcome for hill-walkers.
There’s no knowing what the parish priest at Mahon Bridge in the early 1900s would have made of the Finnish style, timber-panelled sauna that has more recently been installed in the Parochial House.
It went in during 2006, after the Edwardian property had a change of ownership and a change of purpose.
“The sauna was installed to provide a welcome end to a long day of hill walking,” says auctioneer David Cusack of Brophy Cusack auctioneers, explaining that the area is a hill walker’s paradise and that current owners have been using it as holiday home for 12 years.
Mr Cusack believes that the 1905-built house was the residence of the local parish priest right up to the start of this century.
He says the land that it stands on also has a bit of history and was owned by two 19th century explorers.
“It was constructed on land owned by Arctic explorer John Palliser.
“Prior to that the land was owned by James Fairholme who was part of the failed and lost Franklin expedition in which the British crew cannibalised each other when their boat got caught in the ice on their voyage to discover the North West Passage.”
When the current owners purchased the old parochial house in 2005, they added a large two-storey extension, bringing the square footage up to almost 2,800 sq ft, and providing space for a large modern kitchen.
While carrying out the modernisation, they kept many original features including bay windows, picture railings, and fireplaces.
To the rear of the house, there are two sets of double bay windows including one belonging to a timber-floored sitting room which has a high ceiling, a fireplace, picture rails, cornicing, and window shutters.
The second bay window is in the dining area, part of a huge 36 ft long tiled kitchen / living room which, at one end, has timber fitted units and an island unit and, at the other, a sitting room with a floor-to-ceiling redbrick chimney breast with a raised fireplace.
The ground floor also has a sitting room with a fireplace, a guest WC, and a timber-panelled sauna/shower room.
Mr Cusack believes that the sauna is located in the part of the house which was at one time used by the priests to celebrate mass.
A staircase, overhung by a chandelier, leads to the first floor which now has a bathroom and four bedrooms.
In the older part of the house, there’s a large master bedroom which has a bay window with timber panelling as well as an en-suite fitted with both a shower and a freestanding period-style bath.
Set on a site of approximately half an acre, the old parochial house is surrounded by lawned gardens and has a large detached garage.
Seeking offers of €330,000, Mr Cusack believes the property will prove interesting and attractive to overseas buyers because of its history and its location.
“It’s located 20 miles [approximately 32km] from Waterford, ten from Dungarvan and less than two from the Greenway car park at McGraths Cross,” he says, adding that other attractions in the locality include the Crough Wood Walk, Mahon Falls Drive, and the Comeragh and Monavullagh Mountains.
VERDICT: Spacious and comfortable — the parish priest would surely have approved.
Mahon Bridge, Co Waterford
Size: 260 Sq m (2,800 sq ft)