The Old School House, Cross, Ballacolla, Co. Laois

€435,000 Energy Rating R32 D2V1 4 beds4 baths260 m2


This house is a real page turner. Once a primary school and subsequently a haven where James Ryan wrote several novels and his late wife, Caroline Walsh, literary editor of the Irish Times compiled a number of short story collections. This is an exquisitely restored 3-bedroom home set in stunningly landscaped gardens. Special Features: Lovingly restored and extended A garden lover's dream Small Pony paddock 10 mins from Abbeyleix Aga Cooker Many noteworthy original features 3 ensuite bedroomsHome office2 reception roomsSummary Set in rolling countryside this schoolhouse has been carefully renovated and creatively restored to become a beautiful family home. Resting in 0.7acres of uniquely landscaped gardens, it commands seamless vistas over the sweeping countryside. It is only 10 minutes to Abbeyleix, Durrow and the M7/8 Motorway. There is over 260sq.m of living space, 2 reception rooms, kitchen, 3 bedrooms all En suite and home office. Dating back to the 1920s this exquisitely preserved gem offers a rare opportunity to enjoy a piece of Ireland's past adapted to include all the 21st century conveniences. The area is steeped in ancient history, with the renowned Aghaboe Abbey a short walk away. Abbeyleix, heritage town par excellence, with its much admired, elegant Georgian and Victorian architecture is just 10 minute drive away. There are several well developed trails and walks in the area, not least the Abbeyleix Bog Walk offering inspiring routes through verdant woodland and primordial wetlands. Equally attractive is the leisurely walk around Grantstown Lake, with its quiet fishing jetties, abundance of wild flowers and exceptional bird life. Families will appreciate the excellent schools and amenities, while commuters have easy access to major routes. A serene retreat with easy access to a vibrant community, this property presents a unique opportunity to establish a way of life both elegant and well serviced. As you approach the property, you'll be captivated by its well-appointed Victorian exterior, with roses, climbing hydrangea and variegated holly forming a canopy to the original front door. Somehow, echoes of the schoolroom atmosphere remains evoking laughter and learning. The imposing redbrick and curved granite fire places are just as they were back then. The tall sash windows too. And the wainscoting, elaborate vents and picture rails and many original features besides. This architect designed restoration was subtly extended to provide additional living and bedroom space, making this a truly beautiful home. Accommodation: With glazing on all sides, as well as skylights overhead, maximum advantage has been taken of the southerly aspect. There are three double bedrooms, all of which are En suite and have commanding views of the garden. Also a home office. The professional stainless steel kitchen includes an AGA cooker, maintaining the old world ambience. This kitchen is a chef's dream. Quite apart from the Aga and the stainless steel, there is a sophisticated overhead roof ducted ventilation system, a marble top counter and a walk in pantry with automated ventilation.Directly adjoining is the open plan living area with its spacious reception and dining areas. French doors lead on a south west facing terrace bounded by an expansive elevated lavender garden, Inside the front hall and through the original internal doors is the light filled sitting room, incorporating a study area where the owner, who inaugurated and directed the creative writing programme in the School of English at UCD, (06 -16) worked. Three of his four novels are broadly set in the area. The garden (0.7 acres) is a revelation. The mature lime trees form a backdrop to a series of small copses, silver birch and hornbeam all bounded by beech hedging. Then there are the strategically placed individual trees, Mulberry, Persian Ironwood and the giant leaved Foxglove tree. A Boston Ivy clad pergola, sizeable by any standard, creates a shaded space close to the largest of the limes. A deep semicircular herbaceous border, to the left of the entrance gate (again the original) is a blaze of colour in summer. But the crowning glory is, with doubt, the elevated lavender garden, with over two hundred plants, giving the whole garden a Provencal allure. Prominent among the roses is the orange and amber Rosa Gordon Snell, a rose the late Maeve Binchy commissioned to mark the 60th birthday of her beloved Gordon and which they brought as a gift on one of their visits to the schoolhouse. The raised vegetable garden, four easily managed rectangular boxes, ensures that seasonal vegetables are readily available. This includes a well-established asparagus bed. The greenhouse has a vine trailing through the upper supports and is a source of tomatoes, cucumber, basil and tarragon. Running parallel is the paddock, well suited to variety of uses; football, a pony, a tennis court, a wild flower meadow. The entire enterprise is a one man operation and has been throughout the thirty five years of its creation.Aghaboe Abbey 1.5km Manor Stone junction 8Km (8mins) Abbeyleix 11km (11mins)Durrow 11km (11mins) Portlaoise 20km (23mins) Kilkenny 37km (35 min) Kildare 54km (40mins) Dublin Airport 120km (90mins) Limerick 90km (1hour) Dublin M50 97km (1 hour) Cork 150km (1hr 40)


Entrance Hall - 1.85mx2.03m Guest WC - 2.41mx2.13m Hallway - 1.83mx4.04m Reception Room - 7mx4.83m Kitchen - 5.4mx2.77m Dining Area - 5.1mx3.38m Living Room - 4.45mx4.98m First Floor - Balcony Hallway - 4.14mx2.16m Primary Bedroom - 5.72mx3.8m Ensuite - 2.6mx1.98m Bedroom 2 - 5.72mx3.58m Ensuite - 2.44mx2.29m Family Bathroom - 3.3mx2.29m Bedroom 3 - 6.48mx3.56m Home Office - 2.46mx2.77m


  • Lovingly restored and extended
  • A garden lover's dream
  • Small Pony paddock
  • 10 mins from Abbeyleix
  • Aga Cooker
  • Many noteworthy original features
  • 3 ensuite bedrooms
  • Home office
  • 2 reception rooms
  • 260sq,m of accommodation
  • 0.7 acres

BER Details

BER: C1 BER No: 117453951 Energy Performance Indicator: 164


Neala Keating
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SOLD FOR: €207,000
23rd Nov 20
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Sherry FitzGerald Hyland Keating
Sherry FitzGerald Hyland Keating
Tel: 05786...
PSRA Licence No. 001656

Date created: Jun 12, 2024

Sherry FitzGerald Hyland Keating
Sherry FitzGerald Hyland Keating
PSRA Licence No. 001656
Call Agent: 05786...