The home of a designer offers character and comfort on beautiful West Limerick gardens, says Tommy Barker.
THERE’S a sort of trans- Atlantic link going on at this early 1800s Co Limerick period home, with a double-hipped roof and hence named The Gables.....so might that transfer into its next owners slipping ever so comfortably into its vendors’ Irish/US footsteps?
There’s even a bet going too, between the woman of the house, Irish-born designer Agnes Kinney who returned in 2000 from the US to reclaim a bit of her Irish heritage, within a short haul of Adare (and, handily, not too far from Shannon airport either) and auctioneer JC Gubbins, and the bet’s as to who’ll end up buying, and where they’ll come from.
Guiding the restored county home, on seven acres in West Limerick at €675,000, Limerick city-based Mr Gubbins feels the purchaser will most likely be Irish: Ms Kinney, who has had a number of US-side retail, clothing and design projects to her credit (her Jazz Age/Tudor US home garnered several top interior magazine spreads Stateside,) feels the buyer may well come from the other side of the Atlantic.
Whether or which, it’s a racing certainty that the next occupants of the Gables may well indeed want to make side offers on some of the furniture, art and amassed finds and bits and pieces which abundantly grace the walls, and the rooms, of this c 2,800 sq ft home, made even more useful thanks to lower level skirts of an added-on dining room, with overhead conservation-style cast iron skylights, and a linked sun room.
It means now that the ground floor has three reception room in the original core, described as a sitting room, formal dining room and a library, with bookshelf-lined wall painted in a Georgian green to match the other walls, and it has a boxed ceiling plasterwork feature also.
Also in the original ground floor area is a powder room (for the Americans) and a country style kitchen, with unpainted pine kitchen units with barley twist details, and a cream Aga oven, while there’s also central heating, stone fireplaces in the library and sitting room, and the conservatory/dining room has underfloor heating, for year-round usage, and is confidently painted yellow inside, and has its three walls of glazing timber framed under wide eaves painted a pale blue on the outside.
Upstairs the emphasis is on character and comfort, rather than abundant bedrooms, so in fact there’s only three bedrooms, off a split stairs/landing, and they have a bit of extra heights, with ceilings on a slope, with some exposed and painted beams for added elegance and air of antiquity.
One of the trio is en suite with marble tiling around a bath, and the other two bedrooms share a bathroom in a Jack and Jill set up.
Originally reared in Bronxville, in New York’s Westchester county, the family’s three children have now grown up, with two daughters more or less back in the US, and there’s a son married in Greystones in Wicklow.
One married daughter lives part-time nearby with her husband, in a rectory upgraded with Agnes’s savvy interior design input, and that younger couple cris-cross the Atlantic to and from New York from their Irish country home, a retreat from big city and bright lights life, gratis of Cappagh’s relative proximity to Shannon airport.
“The whole family has embraced its ancestral links,” says Ms Kinney, noting the enjoyment they’ve had at the Gables, with its acre of garden. suffused with patina and age and gentle planting, all backed up by a total of seven acres of land in all, reached up a boreen-style lane, and ideal for a small holding or keeping horses.
The setting is quintessentially rural, in a sort of West Limerick triangle between Askeaton, Rathkeale and Adare, and close by is the sizeable Clonshire Equestrian Centre, Adare: that’s on 120 acres and runs many training courses, owned by the County Limerick Hunt Club, while other amenities include renowned golf courses, at Adare Manor (the revamped five-star hotel on 840 acres, recently voted the Best Hotel in the World by Virturoso Network) and at Lahinch and Ballybunion.
Auctioneer JC Gubbins says the condition is superb, with crafted sash windows, granite sills, slate roof, stone fireplace and observes “the owner brought her design talent and discerning eye to the restoration and decor in keeping with the style of this stunning house and garden,” with a sweeping driveway bordered with trees and planting leading to the south-aspected front of the house, and seasonal views of a cherry blossom tree, and rock garden.
An opening through a stone wall leads to a west-facing back terrace, overlooking an enclosed back garden,
one of several gardens including an orchard and kitchen garden, there are patios and even palm trees, old stone steps, and gravelled yards, while restored outbuildings include two stables and a garden building.
At the €675,000 guide (or, for US buyers, a mere $760,000 dollars) the comfortable, C1 BER-rated Gables is billed as “a hidden gem, in a charming setting,” and is dually pitched as “the perfect country home for a family or an easily accessible vacation or weekend retreat.”
VERDICT: Open to all currencies.
Cappagh, West Limerick
Size: 260 sq m (2,800 sq ft)