THE PROPERTY Kilmurry House, the birthplace of Irish watercolorist Mildred Anne Butler, is quite simply one of the finest country manors in all of Ireland. The Georgian house, executed in timeless Palladian style, was Butler's lifelong home: Its former orangery was her studio; its walled gardens, lake, and woodland were the setting for many of her finest en plein air pastoral and wildlife p…
THE PROPERTY Kilmurry House, the birthplace of Irish watercolorist Mildred Anne Butler, is quite simply one of the finest country manors in all of Ireland. The Georgian house, executed in timeless Palladian style, was Butler's lifelong home: Its former orangery was her studio; its walled gardens, lake, and woodland were the setting for many of her finest en plein air pastoral and wildlife paintings. Named to the Royal Academy in 1893, Butler painted to international acclaim for more than 30 years. The National Gallery of Ireland purchased seven of her watercolors for its permanent collection. A watercolor of a pair of rooks was commissioned for the Library in Queen Mary's Dolls' House. Her legacy abides in Kilmurry House., where some of her Kilmurry landscapes hang in the home's art gallery, painted from a nearby window facing the picturesque grounds. The great house itself, set within a private demesne in excess of 90 acres in Thomastown, County Kilkenny, dates from 1690. Butler's father, Captain Henry Butler, grandson of the 11th Viscount Mountgarret, purchased Kilmurry House in the late 1800s, and it remained in the Butler family until 1981. The latest restoration by the current owners extended the home to 17,861 square feet with eleven bedrooms and eight bathrooms while retaining the order and symmetry of the original Georgian design.
THE MANOR HOUSE Kilmurry House is an elegant five-bay, three-story limestone structure above a garden-level villa. What is most notable about the house is the amount of natural light, rare in historic homes. Here, glass doors and double-height windows bring in the light and the views. The reception rooms are grandly proportioned and embellished with original details, such as ornately carved fireplace mantles and crown moldings. Carefully sourced limestone and reclaimed American pine replicate the original floors, and bespoke furnishings echo the period character of each room. Kilmurry House is a luxurious family home for the 21st-century, with ample spaces for relaxation, recreation, and entertaining. The heart of the house is the vast chef's kitchen, which flows into a den and out to a courtyard. The flower room, now a games room, opens onto a terrace. The orangery (once Butler's studio) is another favorite place of the owners, restored to its original 18th-century dimensions. The grand ballroom, replete with bookend fireplaces and three-meter-tall gilt mirrors, offers views to the lake and the Capability Brown landscape beyond. The indoor pool is a contemporary addition with walls of glass that open to a sun terrace in summer and provide insulation in the winter. A gated entry introduces Kilmurry House, opening to a long tree-line drive through the historic grounds and ending at an elegant forecourt. A light-filled reception hall with a fireplace welcomes guests and flows into the formal living and dining rooms. An open staircase rises to the bedrooms on the top two levels. The primary suite is appointed with a fireplace, a dressing room, and a lavish bathroom, and overlooks the two-acre walled garden which inspired much of Butler's work. Her best-known painting, The Lilac Phlox, depicts the plant that has flourished on the property for over a century.
A REMARKABLE SETTING Kilmurry's grounds are a nature lover's sanctuary offering ultimately peace and privacy in an idyllic rural setting. The owners have applied the same high standards in the interior restoration to the exterior, extending the estate's parkland to more than 90 acres. Lawned gardens, with space for a helipad, grace the front and rear of the house. The resplendent two-acre walled garden is quintessentially Georgian in its scale and symmetry. The courtyard cottage with its own kitchen and sitting room could be used as staff quarters as could the original two-bedroom gate lodge with its modern kitchen and bathroom. Beyond the gardens is a serene lake surrounded by mature woodlands—a habitat for red squirrels, hares, hedgehogs, foxes, pheasants, otters, and a pair of nesting eagles. Other delights are the children's adventure trail and zip line through the woods. The remaining acreage is composed of paddocks and wooded pastures for horses and livestock. The estate is within a 20-minute drive of Kilkenny City, once the medieval capital of Ireland, and 1.5 hours from both Dublin City Center and Dublin International Airport. Thomastown, just five minutes away, is a beautiful market town along the River Nore, known for its salmon and trout fisheries. Notable landmarks in the vicinity include Jerpoint Abbey, Kilfane Glen Gardens, and the world-renowned Mount Juliet Golf Course.