Prominently situated in Dunmore East village, Tír na nÓg has some of the glamour of a bygone era and a few rooms that characters from Downtown Abbey would feel quite at home in.
The Victorian seaside residence dates from 1850s and is best remembered locally as having been the home for close to 40 year years of Arthur Wescott Pitt — an aviation pioneer in the 1930s who built a private airstrip and hangar on the outskirts of the picturesque Co Waterford village.
According to local historical records he set up Ireland’s third commercial airline offering pleasure trips to visitors to Tramore, using the strand as a landing strip when the tide was out.
Tír na nÓg, then called Ardnagrena, was the family home of the Westcott Pitts until the late 1970s when it sold to the family who renamed it and sold it on it to the current owner in the late 1980s.
A three-storey property with eight bedrooms and over 3,400 sq ft of living space, it has high ceilinged rooms with many period features as well as a few single storey extensions at the side and rear added on over the years. Fitted with oil heating, it has some original timber sash windows as well as some PVC replacement ones.
According to the Buildings of Ireland website this is a well composed house which has retained much of it original form. Said to be “distinguished by the presence of subtle decorative elements’’, it is described as an attractive and prominent feature in the village.
Because of its size and its prominent location overlooking the harbour, it made perfect sense for the current owner to turn it in to a guest house in recent years.
On the inside, the features which stand out most, and give the high ceilinged rooms some Victorian glamour, are the elaborate original fireplaces with patterned tiled inserts and intricate cast iron surrounds.
The ground floor has two sitting rooms which have highly decorative fireplaces as well as 10 ft high ceilings with picture railings, parquet flooring and bay windows with harbour views.
The room with the most elaborate fireplace, marble with blue patterned tiles and a brass canopy, was probably the original drawing room. A previous owner knocked the back wall in this room to create a large sitting /dining/ kitchen space and it now has a tiled dining area with a dresser as well as a kitchen area with pine units and an Aga.
The second sitting room across the hallway has a carved mahogany fireplace and a doorway leading into a single storey section built on the space where the conservatory used to be. Now it’s a spacious kitchen/diner with access to two bedrooms located in an extension at the rear.
Back in the main house there’s also a study, a utility room and another parquet-floored room.
Upstairs, in the breakfast room overlooking the harbour at the front, there is yet another elaborate fireplace, a tall cast iron one with an over mantel mirror as well as floral tile inserts. A long room which has two high sash windows with secondary shutters, it offers views across the harbour to Hooke Head and Loftus House in Wexford.
The first floor return has a bedroom with a guest WC while the first floor has three bedrooms with en suites added on when the owner converted the house to a B&B. Two of these have slightly smaller, elaborate fireplaces.
The top floor has a shower room and two dormer windowed bedrooms which were probably servants’ rooms and have small cast iron fireplaces. One room has a window seat which the current owner believes was put in by the wife of aviator Arthur Westcott Pitt. “ I’ve been told that she used to come here to sit and enjoy the view’’.
Additional space is provided in an outbuilding, possibly a coach house, which has been converted into a two-bed guest chalet with a kitchen/living room and a bathroom.
To the side there’s a doorway leading into a parking area with space for several cars and there’s also a garden with a patio.
Quoting a guide price €820,000, Palmer Auctioneers say this is an impressive property with magnificent views and tremendous potential.
Thus far, it’s been attracting interest from viewers looking for holiday homes and also for full time residences. “There’s a lot of interest from holiday home buyers,’’ says Warren Palmer, noting that the house next door, Copper Beech, another former guest house sold recently as a holiday home for €860,000 and another one in the village, Goose Rock House sold for €900,000 in 2018, once more as a holiday home.
If it does sell as a holiday home, the property will have come full circle. The current owner believes that was most likely built as a summer residence for the Wescotts, a wealthy London family who owned a shipping company. Their daughter Emma Elizabeth Wescott gave her surname to aviator Arthur Pitt when she married him in 1936 and the property become their family home.
: A property of this age and size will require much care and attention but is sufficiently glamorous, scenic and interesting enough to inspire someone to provide it.
Dunmore East, Co Waterford
Size: 322 sq m (3,465 sq ft)
Bedrooms: 8 & 2
Bathrooms: 5 & 1