See inside €2.75m Tipperary villa with reputed royal links on the shores of Lough Derg

Tipperary Star reporter

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One of the finest houses along the shores of Lough Derg in Tipperary has come on the market with an asking price of €2.75m.

Fort Henry, on the road from Ballina to Birdhill, is layered with history, and with a private harbour, boathouse and direct access on to Lough Derg.

On some 47 hectares (116 acres) the house is an elegant period home offering exceptional views, 465 metres of water frontage and privacy.

Alongside the main house there is a charming mews, and courtyard cottage with a walled garden, lawns, a stream running through with a feature bridge. All within 1.5km of the charming twin towns of Ballina/Killaloe. 

Built in the late Georgian period, and lovingly restored and extended over the generations, Fort Henry has a timeless elegance that is also exceptionally cosy and charming.

Its most recent owners have been a family from the United Arab Emirates who are reported locally to have royal connections. and who used the house on rare occasions as a holiday retreat.

Other local rumours are that Hollywood actor Robert de Niro rented the house for a while back in the 1990s. 

One previous owner was Capt Charles Henry, who was married to the daughter of  a former governor general of India.

It was bought by Brendan O'Regan, who helped develop Shannon Airport and the concept of duty free shopping. He was also a founder of Co-operation North, now Co-operation Ireland, the peace initiative whose patrons are President Michael D Higgins and Britain's Queen Elizabeth.

Mr O'Regan, ,who died in 2008, also founded the world renowned Shannon College of Catering at Shannon Airport.

Reached via a choice of avenues, and surrounded by forestry and pastures, the extremely private grounds run along the banks of Lough Derg. Terraced lawns sweep down from the house, perfumed by rose gardens, while a kitchen garden keeps the occupants of the main house well supplied.

With seven bedrooms and the addition of two separate guest houses, there are obvious opportunities for a boutique hotel, offering fishing, sailing, rough shooting and woodland walks; alternatively, at less than half an hour’s drive from Limerick City, and 45 minutes to Shannon Airport the house could become the perfect home for a very happy family to enjoy to the full.

Strewn with wisteria, a sunny, enclosed veranda welcomes you in to a wide hallway that opens to a dining space with expansive views of the waterfront. To the right is a small but well-appointed study, and behind that a fabulous triple aspect drawing room that includes a commanding wide and deep bay window. This is echoed in the master suite above. The living room is a cosier den, with rich fabric-covered walls that are wood-panelled to dado height, plus a welcoming open fire.

Opposite this is a generous kitchen, that offers lots of opportunity, also on this floor is a garden room on the lakeside, utility room, rear lobby and two en-suite bedrooms. Upstairs are five further bedrooms, including the magnificent master suite, with its bay windows overlooking the water. The décor throughout is extremely tasteful in a timeless fashion, giving period elegance, with all the contemporary comforts at your fingertips.

The extensive grounds are an explorer’s paradise. Acres of woodlands, pastures, and avenue walks along the path of an old railway line, make this a wonderful spot for walkers, horse riders, or it could also be the spot for rough shooting. Bridges lead over a small canal, and there are plentiful secret spots to be found.

Water enthusiasts are right on the famous Lough Derg, with your own private boathouse, for sailing, boating or fishing. Closer to the property, mature trees, banks of roses and other planting, together with courtyard and walled gardens make this a small piece of paradise. The current owners have added additional parcels of land to the property for maximum privacy.

While mature trees front the wide avenues, the bulk of the forestry has been planted within the past generation and could be cleared to pasture once more. Currently, the wider avenues are connected by paths through the trees, so you can vary your walks or rides, and continuously feel as if you are discovering, and rediscovering this wonderful property.

The property is on offer through Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes at local Sherry FitzGerald auctioneer William Talbot; ph: 067-31496