Retiring champion jump jockey Tony McCoy has quite a bit to thank Summerfield in Cork’s Carrigaline for.
Sq m 327 (3,500 sq ft)
Best Feature: Immaculate for man and beast
Retiring champion jump jockey Tony McCoy, who rode his last Cheltenham meet this week and who had the privilege of having a race named after him yesterday, has quite a bit to thank Summerfield in Cork’s Carrigaline for.
Back in 2003, a horse from this immaculate stud farm helped the Northern Ireland jockey (who rides for JP McManus) break a long-standing ‘hex’ of disappointments at the most Irish of English festivals, Cheltenham.
That horse was Summerfield stud’s Liberman; it won Cheltenham’s Champion Bumper by a half a length after McCoy had a fall in the previous race, and it helped break the bogey of bad luck of preceding years.
It was a sweet win – out of more than 4,000 wins – for McCoy. That same year another Summerfield Stud horse, Vintage Tipple, won the Irish Oaks, trained by Paddy Mullins, ridden by Frankie Dettori: there’s a photograph of Dettori being cradled and carried by Summerfield’s Pat O’Donovan to the winner’s podium - along with numerous other photos and paintings of acclaimed wins - up on the walls of Summerfield.
Now up for sale as an exceptionally comfortable family home on 30 acres, with immaculate gardens and landscaped terraces, as well as 17 stables and full equestrian facilities, Summerfield is guided at an even €1m by Joe McCarthy and Trevor McCarthy of Irish and European estate agents in Cork, for owners Pat and Eilís O’Donovan.
Originally in Kilnagleary Carrigaline, back in 1991 the O’Donovans moved a few townlands over to Cummeen, several miles south of Carrigaline on the Minane road, where the horse breeding bug rally began to bite.
They brought a once-modest, off-road traditional farm house and old stone buildings up to the highest standards of human comfort, and the facilities for thoroughbred horses aren’t far behind. And, it’s all on some of south Cork’s very best farmland.
Along the way, and enabled by breeding income and race wins thanks to very close links to the Coolmore Stud ‘machine’, the O’Donovans bought a further 100 acres across the road which had originally belonged to this farm holding, and they began to build a bigger stud operation over the road.
Having built a new home over there, they’ve decided to concentrate all of Summerfield’s stud farm activities at that larger holding, with 40 stables on the way along with staff houses, and they’ve a new home already built there too.
That considerable recent investment is about the only thing that make ‘old’ Summerfield look modest, although the main, two-storey house Summerfield has been extended several times during their tenure, and now is over 3,500 sq ft,
It has got a formal drawing room 32’ by 20’ with barrel ceiling and 5’ high stone chimney-piece, with a large gas fire insert in an ornamental basket. Separately, the ground floor of the original farmhouse is now one open 30’ by 14’ room, also with gas fire, and overhead are two character-filled bedrooms with original high ceilings and waxed old ceiling boards contrasting with French-decor themed furniture and drapes (some likely to have cost a race winnings or so), all on the tasteful side of opulence.
There’s also a ground floor guest suite, scope for a granny flat in a den with mezzanine off the drawing room, while the first floor master suite is exactly what you’d expect from the term.
This bedroom suite to the rear of the house has separate walk-in robes in the eaves, a large bathroom with Jacuzzi bath and shower, and a balcony overlooking paddocks with yearlings of great pedigree.... biding their time, and kicking up their heels.
Downstairs, further extensions have created an embracing family room with high ceilings and Veluxes, with a simple Kilkenny limestone surround. Back here, there’s also a breakfast room, and a high-end kitchen with oil-fired Aga, all built in by a Limerick joiner who, ahem, also does JP McManus’s kitchens.
Selling agents Irish and European almost undersell Summerfield when they describe it as ‘impressive’, with grounds as good as house, as good as yard, as good as land.
VERDICT: The Real McCoy. New occupants are going to be spoiled for comfort, and the on-a-par horse facilities may make it attractive to a further well-shod niche, perhaps even retiring jockeys? But, in truth it’s next owner could be any dark horse, with an eye for a particularly good thing.
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