Boots and Bridles in the Boyne Valley
East Wing Swainstown, County Meath
This completely refurbished wing of an early Georgian manor has been in the same family for more than two centuries. The house is surrounded by over 400 acres of rolling parkland, including a working farm, livery stables and an equestrian facility.
Situated in the Boyne valley – home of High Kings and megaliths - yet just half an hour from Dublin here is the best of both worlds in Ireland’s Ancient East.
Generous rooms and genteel decor
Access is directly into the spacious living room from the rear courtyard – after all this was originally the servant’s quarters. An efficient wood-burning stove and bulky walls effect a cosy homecoming.
Crossing to the adjacent contemporary country style kitchen, the renovation includes a traditional Aga range, Belfast sink and solid oak kitchen table.
A distinctive curved corridor embracing an under-stairs WC, links the wing to the main house. The stairs replicate the geometry as they climb to the bedrooms.
The twin bedroom is an excellent example of an authentic early Georgian interior where painted wooden wall panelling provided additional insulation. Large shuttered windows illuminate the chalky tones.
The master bedroom at the end of the passageway has an ensuite shower room in a partitioned space that houses a built-in wardrobe.
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The East Wing has most comforts you would expect from a quality home, including WiFi, cable television, microwave, and books - although there is no clothes dryer at this time.
The tennis court and swimming pool with barbecue area belong to the main house but are available for occasional use by arrangement.
The property also boasts fantastic facilities for the pursuit of equine activities. It is possible by previous agreement to avail of the livery stables and sand arena in order to exercise horses. A wonderful opportunity for those interested in the equine community.
Excepting the private back gardens of the main house, visitors are free to wander around this large parkland estate -there is a pleasant jaunt through the woods across the little valley at the back of the house.
Smoking - No, sorry!
The owners regret Stag or Hen parties are not admissible.
Pets are allowed. However there are already 3 resident friendly dogs.
Children – Care should be taken with children as this is a working farm.
Out and About
Within striking distance of Dublin just half an hour away, the choice of things to do in this multi-faceted historic county is legend – as they say.
We just can’t list everything, so here are a few of our favourites...
Here are links to some of our favourite activities-
- White water a weir
- Try to catch a trout with O’Reilly
- Hit a hole in one
- Get rid of some hot air in a balloon ride
- Measure a megalith
- Lessons on horseback
- Dine out at Lord Henry’s castle
- Award winning lunch in Kilmessan
- A royal round of golf at Tara
- Chill out on a seriously good Indian
- Back a winner
- Ride on Cu Chulainn
About the Locality
Swainstown is roughly half way between Dublin city just a 30 minute drive away, and Navan the county capital to the North. Navan is the home of Tara mines – Europe’s largest lead and zinc mine, but probably best known as the childhood home of Pierce Brosnan, aka James Bond.
The entire Boyne Valley to the North is steeped in ancient history and mythology, and Meath itself is known as the Royal County – the Hill of Tara was the historical seat of the High King of Ireland.
The passage tombs at Newgrange were constructed around 3,200 BC, predating the Pyramids of Egypt by 600 years, and are well worth a visit.
photo - Andrew Parnell
If you’re into castles there are loads of them in Meath. You could start with Trim Castle, the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland. It was constructed in 1174 and was used in the movie Braveheart.
It is a five minute stroll to the quaint village of Kilmessan where you will find pubs, a supermarket, and restaurants. The whole range of shops and banks are to be found at Dunshauglin just 3km away.
For a day out with the kids though, there are multiple attractions at the Tayto Park in Ashbourne.
River fishing for Trout and Salmon, and lake fishing for Pike attract legions of anglers to this region and there are a number of well established angling centres.
Kayaking and even white water rafting are to be had on the river Boyne, and make for a great day out.
One of the best ways to enjoy the landscape is on a bike, but this is fox hunting territory, so keep your head down. If you have the urge to back a horse, there are two race courses within the locality – Fairyhouse and Navan.
How to get there - Car advised..
By Air: Flights to Dublin or Belfast airports.
Belfast Airport - approx 2 hours from house
Dublin Airport – approx. half an hour from the house
By Sea: Dublin City Port/Holyhead has a fast crossing
and is approx forty minutes from the house
Ferry crossings from Pembroke/Fishguard to Rosslare
Stena Express - 120 mins (summer only from Fishguard)
Rosslare Port is approx 2.5 hours from house
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Gallery of photographs