The village of Conna is home to some top horse facilities and lots of winning ways, finds Tommy Barker.
Conna, East Cork €495,000
Size: 343 sq m (3,680 sq ft) on four acres)
Best Feature: High end and horsey
Even with all the facilities for top comfort for humans and horses alike at Conna’s lovely Ledbury, there’s just no keeping up with the neigh-bours, just over the fence.
Large and luxurious, with four bedroom suites and high-end finishes, Ledbury also has four acres, four stables, paddocks sand arena and cross country jumps, so is pretty much set up for all things equine.
But, right next door is the real deal, a 30-horse yard, home to Jimmy or JJ Mangan, a top Irish horse trainer, with Cheltenham wins, and an Aintree Grand National winner under his belt, the 2003 winning Monty’s Pass.
Jimmy’s Mangan’s daughter, jockey Jane, is emerging too as another winner, despite a spectacular fall in 2013 at Cheltenham, just yards from the post.
So, no pressure to keep up, huh? “The Mangans are lovely neighbours, they’re so helpful and welcoming,” say Jo and Patrick Clarke, who moved to picturesque Conna in 2012 from Derbyshire, after falling for the pretty East Cork and Bride Valley village, its people, views, lifestyle, and accessibility.
The couple (he’s Irish) had holidays for the last 25 years in and around Munster, so knew the lay of the land; when they spotted Ledbury, then home to agricultural advisor John Anthony, they jumped for it.
Their own daughter is a very keen and able rider, so the mix fitted, but she’s back to the UK for work, and Jo and Patrick have decided the 3,600 sq ft home on a hill is just too big for them, and they’d love another house challenge, not too far away.
What they are now selling isn’t quite what they bought: it’s a 1970s over-basement bungalow and the lower level had been used for offices by its previous owner Mr Anthony.
While not quite turning the place upside down, they reordered it, made en suite bedrooms at both levels (a library is an optional bed five) and had a fine new stairs made, by the same Waterford joiner who did Michael Flatley’s stairs in Castlehyde, further up the Blackwater Valley, the other side of Fermoy.
They upgraded every element of Ledbury, and reordered the large, upper floor outdoor terrace, fringed with box hedging, where they dine al fresco, and to dine out on the views too, of the Galtees and the Knockmealdowns.
Ledbury’s for sale, guiding at €494,000, and estate agent Adrianna Hegarty in Midleton says the work in 2012 has taken it to a very high specification: “I know I’m not supposed to say it, but it’s my very favourite house, I just love the way it’s been done and where it is and everything,” Ms Hegarty enthuses.
It’s her second time putting Ledbury to market though, in just a few months: it launched in the start of summer and went ‘sale agreed’ straight away to a UK buyer, but after much protracted negotiations, that buyer has suddenly pulled out, so it’s relaunch time, as another season starts.
For humans, this most comfortable of homes has an Aga in the country style kitchen, pantry, library, formal/modern reception rooms including a drawing room and dining room which each have roof terrace access, breakfast room/conservatory with rear courtyard access, extra large utility and laundry, and the layout would allow for guests, self-catering or Air b’n’b.
Externally, there’s an acre of landscaped gardens plus three paddocks, veg garden, BBQ, chicken coop, multi-car garage, four custom built stables, with feed mangers, numerous water points, tack room, sand and jumping arenas.
VERDICT: Thoroughbred home
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