4 bedroom farmhouse on circa 18 acres
Riverbank Farm is a 300-year-old fully restored farmhouse new to the market. Only by visiting can you truly appreciate the harmony of house, land and surroundings.
The charm and character of this place is unique, lying in the foothills of the Sliabh Aughty Mountains about five miles from Gort. The house is approached by a 350 metre long tree-lined avenue with magnificent views over the surrounding countryside and Chevy Chase Wood.
There is also a broad river on the southern perimeter where herons and otters fish. The land consists of 18 acres of meadow and pasture and is well-stocked with a variety of trees, shrubs and wildflowers.
The native hedgerows throughout have been carefully cultivated and enhanced by the present owner. There are six purpose-built loose boxes in the stable-yard and barn with double arched doors It is the perfect country retreat for the discerning buyer.
The house has been occupied continuously for almost all of its 300 years, being only unoccupied for a few years prior to its restoration.
The original house and adjacent barn have been restored to form the present structure – the result is an imaginative combination of features that exist in perfect harmony. The owner has carefully retained the contours and layout of the old buildings.
The original cottage, for example, has been thatched in the traditional manner while the adjoining barn-conversion is slated to allow no loss of character in the old family building. Indeed, in all the restructuring, only traditional materials have been used.
An exception is the reed-thatch, which was imported from Turkey for its quality and durability. The thickness of the walls, with deeply recessed windows crowned by oak lintels, is particularly striking.
By adding additional windows and a sloping conservatory to the rear, the owner has ensured that warmth and sunshine can permeate the entire building from southern and western directions.
The result is that the house is flooded with light, which in turn enhances the colours of the terracotta floor tiles and timbered ceilings. The southern-facing area to the rear of the house has a terrace of natural stone that is particularly attractive.
The main living area is dominated by the original ceiling-height chimney breast and lintel. A large wood-burning solid fuel stove, with back boiler, provides heat and hot water for the home. Alternatively oil-fired central-heating may be used and this has been installed throughout the house.
The kitchen and dining areas have all modern appliances and yet these manage to blend perfectly with the traditional feel of the property.
There are three bedrooms. The large double-bedroom (with en-suite) has immense character, is filled with light and has a beautiful outlook, with access to the rear terrace and lawn.
A neat wooden staircase near the kitchen leads to a mezzanine-level bedroom, which also has loft storage space currently utilised as a walk-in wardrobe. When this room was designed it was envisaged that there would be a ‘breakfast-balcony’ attached to the gable-end overlooking the farm and Chevy Chase Wood.
Accordingly, there is a door already in place for the option of an elevated balcony here. There is a further mezzanine-level bedroom, currently used as a guest-room, on the other side of the cottage. This room, accessed by wooden steps, has a Velux window.
Beneath this room there is a spacious blue and white bath-room which looks out onto the garden. To the rear of the house, in the area of the barn conversion, there is ample space for any extension plans a future owner might have.
The land and surroundings
The surroundings of Rivebank Farm deserve special mention. Certainly it can be considered nothing less than a nature lover’s paradise. From the moment you enter the sweeping driveway, the harmony of the surroundings becomes clear.
The views over patchwork fields, woods and hills are breathtaking. Connemara ponies and foals graze in the dappled fields, while badger, pheasant, hare and deer are regular visitors.
On the southern perimeter the river, with one particularly attractive swimming place, winds past. The land is bounded on all sides by carefully-managed native hedgerows full of wildflowers. For this reason the dawn chorus is particularly striking.
There are many mature trees throughout the lands. Oak, beech, ash, scots pine and birch are well represented and a host of shrubs and plants enhance the property in every corner. Banks of wild honeysuckle, rhododendron and mayflower further add to the charm and unique atmosphere of this place.
The seasons too, blending one to another, bring constant fascination. The driveway has truly a host of golden daffodils with hundreds along its length.
Primroses are found in abundance, with one particularly spectacular bank that is much admired. Cowslips, foxgloves and wild orchids are also numerous. There are dozens of holly trees.All fur and feathered creatures of the area are at home in these surroundings. Especially in the colder months, deer wander near in search of food.
A pair of kestrels recently nested in the trees of the driveway and could be seen teaching their young to hunt. Badgers have made a sett at the base of an unusually-shaped scots pine about one hundred yards from the rear of the house.
It is a place of total charm and character. The owner, a keen horse-breeder, has achieved a degree of perfection in the restoration.
He was conscious throughout that both interior and exterior changes should blend with their surroundings. That he has succeeded in a unique fashion will be immediately apparent to any visitor to Riverbank Farm.
Many writers and poets have had roots or connections with this area. The tree in the garden of Lady Gregory’s former home at Coole Park has been carved with many names of writers who gathered there during the Literary Revival period.
When the poet W.B. Yeats restored his 16th century tower just five miles from here he referred often to the inspiration he gained from the landscape. He walked these meadows and woods and tried in his poems to convey the atmosphere of this unique place.
He wrote of sunlit days and moonlit nights and the particular beauty and harmony of these surroundings. Any future occupant of Riverbank Farm will know exactly what he meant.
While the farm has complete seclusion and privacy it can by no means be considered remote or isolated. It is situated in the townland of Derreen. The Heritage Town of Gort, Gateway to the Burren, is just five miles away. Ennis is 18. Galway, the city of the Tribes, is 25. Shannon is 35.
The Cliffs of Moher and Connemara are less than an hour’s drive away and, if you take the Aran Airways flight from Galway, it is possible to be on the Aran Islands in less than two hours.
Riverbank Farm is on the market at €425,000. For more information contact 00353 86 1034933 or 00353 91 631287.