A beguiling country retreat
Emo Park House, County Laois
This substantial contemporary country house fuses comfort with elegance, familiar with unique. Quietly private, and surrounded by parkland fringed with the woodland walks of Emo Court Estate, the house is just an hour from Dublin.
Emo Park House comes in two parts, the classic main residence and a conjoined yet autonomous apartment to suit the extended family.
The main residence
Stealing through a columned entrance in Georgian style and crossing the limestone tiled hallway you at once step down into a substantial open plan living area that spans the entire southern aspect and is the core of this elegant home.
The kitchen, in a classic style with a built in Aga range and solid wood prepping island, occupies one end of this long room.
The elegant chandeliered dining area isolates the sumptuous seating end and magnificent natural sandstone fireplace bounded by an upholstered club fender.
Beyond the sitting room, there is an informal garden room with glazed canopy and furnished for long summer lunches.
Stairs from the hallway curve up to a landing gallery overlooking atrium.
The master bedroom is distinguished by a super king size bed, walk-in wardrobe, and large marbled ensuite bathroom with a luxurious free-standing egg bath and walk through glass wall shower.
At the centre, a sublime fan light window saturates the rooms with natural light, supported by French doors that exit onto a flag lined formal pond which bisects the lawn.
Double patio doors predominate across this sun terrace.
A cosy library with crackling log fire just off the entrance hall beckons the bookworm.
The Stable Wing
A wholly self- contained first floor apartment links to the main home via a communal study and barbeque balcony overlooking the garden courtyard.
The apartment can be separately accessed via stairs from the stables below, or from a second balcony at the opposite extreme of the loft.
Smoking - No, sorry!
Parties - The owners regret Stag, Hen, Wedding or 21st parties are not admissible.
This less formal wing features an expansive and lofty open- plan living area, with kitchen, dining table and high-stool breakfast-bar, leading on to sofa seating surrounding a wood burning stove and wide screen plasma TV.
There are three unique ensuite double bedrooms along this loft with king size, queen size and standard double beds.
Vaulted arches are a common design element, even dramatically linking the front and rear of the home, but also creating a lovely cloister to the run of stables. The garden is variously laid out with formal avenues and less formal orchards, plenty of space for the chickens, horses and treasured bees.
Out and About
Co.Laois is especially suited to relaxed country life style with hill walking, golf, fishing, horse racing, trekking and hunting all available locally and this home is an ideal base for those who wish to explore Ireland’s Ancient East.
Here are links to some of our favourite activities-
- Racing at the Curragh
- Tapas lunch at Roundwood House
- A touch of Arts at Dunamaise Arts Centre
- Play a round of golf at Dunmurry
- Tea time at Emo Court
- Cowboy pony trekking
- Dinner at The Gate House
- Famine history at Donaghmore museum
Note that Specialised hunting weekends/weekdays can be organised with the local Hunts which include the Laois Foxhounds, The Kildare Foxhounds, The Kilkenny Foxhounds, Golden Vale, Tara Harriers and Meath Foxhounds. This would include transport, horse hire, cap and hunting breakfasts and dinners.
About the Locality
The County capital Portlaoise is the nearest town, just 15 minutes away, and though by passed by the M7 motorway, its central location in Ireland’s most landlocked county, ensures that it remains a busy crossroads for commuters between Dublin and both Limerick and Cork cities.
The spectacular hill-top remains of Dunmase 12th century fortifications dominate the landscape between Portlaoise and Stradbally and is well worth a wander.
photo Kent Clemmens
To the west, the Slieve Bloom Mountains along with the Massif Central in France, are the oldest mountains in Europe. Once also the highest, they have been whittled away by erosion over the millennia to a mere 527m today. Slieve Bloom Way, a recently opened seventy kilometre hill walk is within four miles of Emo. You could try a part of it..
photo Kevin Higgins
The Great Famine of 1845-49 devastated the county. The workhouses struggled to cope with the number of destitute people seeking shelter, and by the time Donaghmore workhouse opened in 1853, many of the poorest had emigrated or died.
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The adjacent and extensive demesne of Emo Court provides wonderful woodland and lake walks, as well as splendid gardens first laid out in the 18th century. The neo-classical house was designed by the Palladian architect James Gandon in 1790 and is open to the public.
In July 1903 the fore-runner of formula one racing, the Gordon Bennett Cup ran through Stradbally. It was the first international motor race to be held in Ireland, and the second ever - racing was illegal on British public roads.
As a compliment to Ireland the British team chose to race in Shamrock green which thus became known as British racing green. Bennett was the millionaire owner of the New York Herald.
How to get there - Car advised..
By Air: Cork, Dublin or Shannon.
Dublin Airport - approx 1.5 hours from house.
Shannon Airport - approx 1.5 hours from house.
Cork Airport - approx 2 hours from house.
By Sea: Ferry crossings from Pembroke/Fishguard to Rosslare.
Stena Express - 120 mins (summer only from Fishguard)
Rosslare Port is just over 2 hours from house
Dublin City Port/Holyhead has a fast crossing and is approx 1.5 hours from house
Gallery of photographs