Thatched tranquillity for €2.75m

It’s hard to decide what’s more beautiful at Riverstown House in Co Meath: the upgraded cottage or the stunning gardens on 14…

It’s hard to decide what’s more beautiful at Riverstown House in Co Meath: the upgraded cottage or the stunning gardens on 14 acres

THERE IS A school of thought which says an exceptional garden will invariably sell a house. The suggestion, of course, is that the quality of the house is secondary. Whether true or not, if the two happen to come together in one delightful package, the selling agent has a seriously good property on their hands.

This is precisely what Pat O’Hagan of Savills has when he launches a marketing campaign today to find a buyer for Riverstown House, a superb country house on 14 acres of outstanding gardens and grounds at Rathfeigh, Tara, Co Meath. A price of €2.75 million is sought for the modern thatched house with an extensive yard and lands including 20 horse boxes.

Riverstown is off the Dublin-Slane road, about 20 miles from the capital. The original single-storey thatched house served as a hunting lodge for the Duke of Beaufort and later the home of Sir Richard Musgrave until the late 1980s. Twenty years ago the present owner bought it – not so much for the distinctive and well-maintained thatched cottage but for the 14-acre setting of mature gardens and woodlands.


The woodlands have since been renewed and enlarged through the planting of hardwoods and conifers to give added privacy and depth to the remnants of a once notable estate. The original house was given extra height and a new thatched roof to interlink it with a large new thatched house at the rear. The result is a mixture of traditional elegance and modern style and comfort.

It is a big house by any standards, with 622sq m (6,700sq ft) of space available, including six reception rooms and five bedrooms on two of the three floors.

The original house serves as a galleried entrance hall which eventually leads into a large inner hall, ideal for entertaining on a grand scale. There are formal drawing rooms and dining rooms, and a stylish reception room to one side of the house leading out into a particularly attractive conservatory.

Apart from a well-fitted kitchen with a gas-fired Aga, there is a huge utility room and a tiled Jacuzzi and steam room. Two stairs lead up to the first floor where there are five bedrooms (three ensuite) in addition to the main bathroom.

For families needing even more space, there is a large floored attic, ideal for storage or further bedrooms.

Wonderful and all as the house is, a visitor’s attention will invariably revert to the four distinctive gardens developed immediately around the house to give it colour and maturity – a subtle succession of spaces, harmoniously wrought and separately defined.

There are generous plantings of everything from roses to bamboo and Japanese maples to palm trees between a water feature with two large ponds brimming with monster coy fish. The boundaries of the gardens are marked by ancient granite walls from the destroyed Gibbstown Castle – features that complete a picture of tranquillity and timelessness.

Jack Fagan

Jack Fagan

Jack Fagan is the former commercial-property editor of The Irish Times