Reflect on the magic touch

Rose Martin is spellbound by the simple elegance of a home tinged with elements of ancient Irish and Chinese traditions.

UP for auction next Thursday carrying a guide price of €2 million, Pouldrew House in Co Waterford had the Hollywood hoopla when it last hit the market in 1999.

Then in the hands of country house agent, Michael Daniels, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were mentioned as possible buyers, but the house was ultimately withdrawn from sale.

Now back on the market and in the same price range as an above-standard detached property in Dublin, Pouldrew offers value.

Located just outside the village of Kilmeaden, it has a 45-acre estate, part of which is taken up with a stunning 12-acre lake, with lawns, paddocks and deer-grazed woodland.

Pouldrew House is a sumptuous property which has been painstaking renovated over the past 12 years by its owner, surgeon Dr Jan.

A native of Singapore, he has worked in Waterford Regional Hospital and other major centres in the country but has the distinction of being the first practitioner of acupuncture and Chinese medicine in Ireland.

Pouldrew's 13,000 square feet of space is now too large for the Jan family requirements and is on the market with Sherry FitzGerald Countrywide and local agents Siobhan McGrath of Sherry FitzGerald Reynolds and Barry Walsh of Sherry FitzGerald Walsh.

It's in pristine condition, says Ms McGrath, and fixtures and fittings are included in the sale, but the doctor's eclectic collection of art, sculpture and Chinoiserie will be moving with him.

As Dr Jan explains, Pouldrew is a derivative of the Irish place name, Pool of the Druids, and he says there is a magical feel to the setting just outside Kilmeaden.

The house sits close by the lakeshore and has three acres of surrounding parkland and an equivalent deer paddock The 12 acres of lake finish in a stunning 20-foot waterfall.

Originally built by Viscount Doneraile in 1816, it was later occupied by Lord Ardagh and then by the Malcolmson family, who founded a cotton mill in nearby Portlaw.

Dr Jan bought the property in 1992, having previously viewed Ballynatray House in Youghal, which recently sold for a reputed €12 million, after a complete renovation by the Boissevain family.

Dr Jan threw himself into the same task at Pouldrew and had a team of 20 builders reroof, rewire and replaster the simple but elegant property over a six-month period a feat in itself.

Floors were polished, walls painted and, as he says himself, he's found a use for every room in the house.

The basement was tanked as part of the property's damp-proofing and functions as his "museum", with two rooms hived off for surgery use.

The house has seven bedrooms with three en suite rooms, a grand entrance hall in bright yellow, with smart white pilasters, and two formal reception rooms.

The reception rooms are called, appropriately enough, the Irish room and the Chinese room and both are a large, but manageable size. The Chinese room has flock wallpaper, which complements perfectly its oriental furniture and fittings.

Next is the dining room, which has a separate butler's pantry, and the modern kitchen has fitted units and an Aga cooker.

Off the rear lobby on the ground floor is a trophy room, guest bathroom and laundry room.

Five bedrooms, along with a bathroom and storage rooms, are on the first floor level with two more en suite rooms at lower ground floor level.

Here, there's also a library, billiard room, lounge and wine cellar as well as a number of ancillary rooms.

The property also comes with a separate manager's house, which has its own entrance, and stone-cut stables set around a courtyard.

Perhaps it was the influence of the Malcolmson family, but Pouldrew House's energy needs are met for most of the year by hydroelectricity harnessed from the property's waterfall.

The lake has good coarse fishing, with an occasional appearance by salmon, and is fed by a tributary of the Suir, the Dawn. According to Dr Jan, you could row all the way to Waterford, if you wished.

The net should be cast wide next Thursday when this unique property goes under the hammer.

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