Trish Dromey finds out


A unique delight in the heart of the Déise

A lifetime experience in home ownership, renovations, and sales makes this Lismore spread a real treat as Trish Dromey finds out

A unique delight in the heart of the Déise

Lismore, Co Waterford - 599,000

Size: 353sq m ( 3,800sq ft)

Bedrooms: 5

Bathrooms: 5


Best Feature: Go, USA!

A high quality finish, as well as a lifetime’s worth of ideas, experience and collected items went in to the construction of Glenriver House in Lismore.

It was built in 2012 by an Irish American who started out as an interior designe became a ‘realtor’ and came to visit the birthplace of his parents in Tipperary and later spent 17 years running an antique shop in Lismore.

During his career as an estate agent he says he renovated many properties in the US as well as some in Ireland where he converted an old church in Tipperary into a restaurant in the 1980s. But Glenriver House, a five bed residence on a five acre site, constructed after his retirement, six kilometres outside Lismore, is the first property he built for himself.

“ It has features that I liked from many of the houses I renovated. I had a very definite idea of the house I wanted and got an architect to design it for me,’’ says the owner who asked for gothic windows and crosses at the front, features that were in the church he renovated.

The huge central staircase with galleried balconies on either side is a something he’s liked in a house he worked on in the US while the internal balcony over the conservatory is a reminder of the family home he grew up in.

Some of the most striking features in Glenriver are two sets of pillars, one granite, one timber, which he purchased at separate auctions years ago but didn’t have a home for until he built this.

The front door contains a stained glass window with a depiction of wheat and vine which originated in an old convent in Castleconnell and was a gift that he’d been keeping for quite some time.

To build his dream home the owner used a local builder also and hired a local carpenter to put in the open tread oak staircase with wrought iron spindles which he designed himself for the large entrance hallway.

The tiled hallway has all the signs of being decorated by someone who loves classic furniture and has gilt framed paintings, a large gold mirror and a selection of antiques and period style pieces.

The formal dining room with gold candelabra style light-fitting is similarly decorated and furnished as are the library and the lounge which are connected by a large arch.

In this archway the owner found space for two timber pillars he had bought at auction many years earlier. Elaborate with polished timber, possibly mahogany at the end and gold painted carvings at the top, these lend a touch of the exotic and the dramatic to the decor.

He doesn’t know where they originated, but believes they are old and might have come from a hotel or a large house. He’s happy to have found a good place for them and to have used pillars as a feature for the first time.

His second set of pillars, the granite ones, have gone in to the lounge, a formal room with tiled flooring and ceiling cornicing. The raised stove set in a marble tiled chimney breast, has a pillar on each side.

One wall in this room is dominated by a giant painting of the Children of Lir which the owner commissioned from a US artist, years before he moved to Ireland.

Off the lounge is large conservatory, a more informal space with modern paintings and furniture and a raised stove, large windows and a double height ceiling with an overhead balcony.

This room was included at the final stages of design to provide a place from which to look out at the mountains and the stream which runs along the boundary of the property. Although there’s TV in the room , owner says the views from the two large windows are a lot more interesting.

“We get pheasants , foxes and hares in the garden and have a crane that flies across the back and nests in an on old oak tree – it’s marvelous to look at.”

On the other side of the house there’s a modern kitchen with cream painted units put in a Tipperary joiner who made them American style with high cupboards at the owner’s request.

The very extensive ground floor accommodation includes an en suite guest bedroom as well as a utility room, a shower room and a walk in pantry. The design plans provided for an attached garage, but the owner changed his mind about this when he discovered that Irish people rarely keep their cars in garages.

Instead he used the space for a 430 sq ft self contained one bed apartment with a living room, a shower room and a kitchen diner.

One half of the upstairs space is given over to a master suite which has a large bedroom with a balcony, a walk in wardrobe, an en suite and a living room with two gothic style windows at the front.

The other side of the upper floor has a study with glass doors leading on to a balcony as well as a bathroom and two bedrooms. There’s a large bedroom at the front and a smaller one at the side with a vaulted ceiling which has been decorated as a child’s room and has access to the internal balcony over the living area.

Glenriver is on a site of five acres, including three which are being used for horse grazing by a nearby landowner. It has two acres of garden and has two entrances, one at the rear and another at the front with a pillared entrance. The front gates are electric and the garden has CCTV security cameras.

There’s hedging and graveled areas as well as the foundations for a large garage that the owner decided not to build. Directly in front of the property is an old Dublin street light set in a circular stone area, which is another auction purchase, one which the owner finally found a home for.

Although he enjoying building and decorating the property exactly as he wanted , and living in it for the few years, he’s now thinking about moving to Florida where it’s warmer and he can spend time with his grand children and great grand children.

Guiding this highly original property at €599,000, Cormac Curran of Sherry FitzGerald Reynolds say it’s been finished and decorated to an exceptionally high standard, a high level of insulation and a very good B2 BER rating.

Because of in its scenic, tranquil West Waterford location, he believes it will be attractive to foreign buyers. “ You have the backdrop of the mountains and the stream, just a 10 minute drive from Lismore.”

VERDICT: unique in design, décor and detail

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