Glenasmole Lodge, on the edge of County Dublin, 4 miles from Firhouse but a million miles in terms of size, scale and history. The property and its lands would give the Disneyfied Enniskerry a run for its money, as it has featured in several films, including John Boorman’s The General, which was shot on his lands.
The property is set to add another screen credit to her resume, as she will appear on the small screen in the fall in a new RTÃ series with a working title from Ireland’s Most Amazing Homes. The series is produced by Waddell Media, the Belfast-based production company that produced Britain’s Most Expensive Houses series for Channel 4 last summer. Asking 4.25 million euros, Glenasmole Lodge, a sports estate on more than 220 acres straddling the counties of Dublin and Wicklow. It has a Dublin 24 postcode and yet is adjacent to Wicklow National Park; the county line crosses the farm, as does the Dodder River, which has a nearby source.
Built in 1792 by George Grierson, whose family was the king’s printer in Ireland, the lodge has high gables and tall chimneys, and offers impressive views across a valley of fern and gorse slopes to the reservoir from Bohernabreena to Glenasmole in the Dublin Mountains. It is a remarkably photogenic place to locate a house.
It is said that Fionn MacCumhaill and the Fianna loved to hunt deer in the valley. Deer still roam the valley and although they don’t eat rhododendrons or azaleas they seem to like everything else in the garden, the owner, who bought the place in 2001, laments. Such are the disadvantages of living in such an apparent desert; however, the estate is easily accessible from the Firhouse stores.
The gardens span 34 acres and include pastures and woodlands with Scots pine, beech, rowan, and the aforementioned rhododendron, shockingly pink this time of year. Golden variegated Irish yews and other ornamental evergreens line the driveway.
The estate includes 173 additional acres of former grouse moorland, subject to turbare and grazing rights, home to black grouse, woodpeckers and a few cuckoos.
“It is the largest small estate in County Dublin,” explains the owner.
Many of Ireland’s great houses have been documented in a myriad of table books. Glenasmole is featured in The Neighborhood of Dublin from 1912 by Weston St John Joyce and in In An Irish House by fashion designer Sybil Connolly, which ushered in a new era of appreciation.
And while the property – which spans 507mÂ² (5,467 square feet) – has a colorful history that includes its ruin by fire and restoration in the 1800s, hence its Regency-Gothic look, it’s is primarily a family home where the current owners raised their children in what the owner describes as “an existence of swallows and amazons”, based on Arthur Ransome’s children’s adventure novel which was turned into a feature film.
The kids had ponies and there is plenty of room in the farm buildings, stables and a restored chalet, but it’s the grounds themselves that are remarkable, says the owner. There are majestic trees, some over 200 years old and reaching 200 feet, that house the property and give it a secretive atmosphere, the owner explains.
âIt’s a very atmospheric house,â he says, who has lived there since 2001. âThe facilities in the house are its most important feature. We haven’t done much structurally, but we have spent a lot on decoration. This includes lining many interior walls in hand-printed designs by Parisian luxury house Zuber.
The former owners, the Judds, who had lived there since the 1960s, put their own stamp on the place, adding architectural elements including ornamental woodwork and multiple fireplaces salvaged from Georgian homes threatened with demolition. In an earlier addition to the house, the family room, complete with Gothic arched bookcases, opens onto the veranda whose cast-iron columns come from Crowther in London, while decorative finials come from a Westmoreland Street shirt.
The dining room has an arched facade while the living room, arranged on one level at the return, is a later addition added at the beginning of the 20th century. This double-aspect room has floor-to-ceiling windows and vaulted ceilings and opens onto a patio.
A gate to the gardens was originally housed in a property on St Stephen’s Green and includes a lantern in its transom.
The gardens are landscaped in a naturalistic style popularized by William Robinson at the beginning of the 20th century. The property is listed, as are several of its trees. The same goes for a stone known as the Fionn MacCumhaill Stone. The estate is seeking 4.25 million euros through joint agents SherryFitzGerald Country and Christies.