OFTEN, WHEN SOMEONE takes on a renovation of a large estate, it’s described as a labour of love – love for the fabric of the house, its history and its surroundings and an ambition for it to thrive.
Perhaps this is true of the Ramsdens, who bought the Sopwell Hall Estate in 1985. Seeing as the house and grounds had fallen into disrepair, the couple clearly had a lengthy and expensive project on their hands.
Thankfully, their passion and patience paid off. Sopwell Hall in Ballingeary, Co Tipperary is now in impeccable condition and sits on 300 acres that are filled with features and structures sure to keep the next buyer consistently on their toes.
Michael Ramsden, a former art dealer and owner of Saskia Antiques, along with his wife Sarah bought it all and got to work right away.
Approaching the estate up a half mile long driveway, it’s plain to see that they had their work cut out for them. The 300 acres isn’t just home to the grand Georgian house, there’s also an array of lodges, buildings, and even a castle on the grounds.
Each light-drenched room within the main house is impeccably presented and filled with period furniture that’s in great condition. Downstairs, there’s no question that the main hall sets the precedent for the whole house.
The beautiful dining room with its grand fireplace, large windows and ample space ensures the most lavish dinner parties. The sprawling countryside that rolls into the distance provides the ideal backdrop, while the grey/blue walls are elegant and in keeping with the style of the house.
More intimate rooms include this living room which is the perfect place to relax and leaf through a book or two. The colour choice for the walls only enhances the cosiness and welcome feel this room exudes.
For more casual meals, you’re sure to use the dining area that leads from the striking yet sophisticated blue painted kitchen. Double doors from here, lead to the outside if al fresco dining during the summer is on the cards.
The main house covers 1,322 m² and is home to an impressive ten bedrooms spread over two upper floors. Needless to say, having guests over shouldn’t be too much of a tight squeeze.
The Ramsdens renovated three properties on the estate – two gate lodges and a gardener’s cottage, too, but there is also cut-stone structures in the courtyard that are home to more accommodation, a studio and workhouses.
While the main house dates to 1745, the estate itself dates back to the 16th century. On the grounds is a derelict castle that offers a further restoration project – that is if the maintenance of the house and grounds, that include a sunken garden, an orchard and a tennis court, aren’t work enough.
Sopwell Hall is close to the historic towns of Birr, Roscrea and Nenagh. The location of the estate certainly strikes the right balance when it comes to privacy and proximity to the town of Ballingeary, which is a five minute drive away.
There’s no doubt that Sopwell Hall Estate is a unique opportunity for anyone with a love of history, impressive architecture and a passion for ensuring that one of Ireland’s finest houses survives well into the future.