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A gardeners Shangri-la

Shackleton Ell, County Laois

A Romantic, rustic refurbishment of rural outbuildings, this is an ideal lodge for the horticulturally minded couple, set as it is between the delightful Shackleton garden in the exclusive grounds of Ballintubbert House, and its exquisite potager.
The cottage is just over an hour from Dublin, and just under two to Cork.

breakfast bar

A Folksy Intimate Nest

Joyously executed, this inspirational renovation brings a modern twist, somewhere between rustic and industrial to an autonomous L shaped garden annex.

the kitchen

The owners have recycled heavy pine scaffolding boards to clad nearly every surface of the main areas, giving it a warm rustic charm.

purple flower apple tree

The kitchen and living space share one end of the cottage, where a heavy rugged breakfast counter is matched with three wholly contemporary leather and chrome stools.

the garden


  • Sleeps
    up to 4 guests
    From €900 per week
  • Bedrooms
    One double bedroom
    (plus one with seperate access, ensuite)
    Shower room with WC
  • Reception
    Open plan Sitting room & Kitchen
  • Features
    Designer historic gardens
  • Contempo
    WiFi internet, central heating
    Good Cell phone reception
  • Availability
    Weekly: Saturday to Saturday
    Weekends: Friday to Monday
    Midweek: Monday to Friday
  • Restrictions
    Please check if you intend bringing a pet
the hallway
the living area

A double bedroom occupies the far end of the cottage – white of wall and barren of décor, with the low level windows that feature throughout.

the bedroom

A second double bedroom, complete with it's own ensuite, is available as an optional extra in the adjoining return, and has a separate entrance.

The bathroom, sandwiched in the middle, has a shower that employs corrugated zinc sheeting supplementing the salvaged scaffolding boards for a quirky shanty ambience.

the shower room
double bed
the shower detail plan of the garden


The 14 acres of beautifully designed organic gardens that surround the cottage and main house, are a work in progress that started in 1850 and are at the core of what this estate is all about. The property is divided by hedges, trees and shrubs into a series of garden rooms, with tantalising glimpses through openings and down hidden walkways.

view of veg garden cottage entrance

The enclosed garden adjoining the cottage is named after the acclaimed Irish Garden Architect, Arthur Shackleton who designed it; the Water Garden is after Sir Edwin Lutyens, complimented by Gertrude Jekyll style planting schemes.

FAQs flowers in the garden

Dotted among orchards and rose garden you will find semi-permanent structures which come into their own for occasions such as weddings.

carved pole in garden


Smoking - No, sorry!
Pets – Possibly, check with us.

Out and About

Co.Laois is especially suited to relaxed country life style with hill walking, golf, horse racing and trekking all available locally and this home is an ideal base for those who wish to explore Ireland’s Ancient East.

antique car photo
Here are links to some of our favourite activities-

Annual Events
Electric Picnic September
Stradbally Steam Festival August


New to Unique Irish Homes - 2019

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using Shackleton in search for posts

Facilities & Amenities

Kitchen Appliances

• Electric oven
• 4 ring gas hob
• Fridge
• Dishwasher
• Toaster
• Microwave


• King-size Bed

Tech & Entertainment

• Wi-Fi Internet
• Central heating
brandy the dog

About the Locality

The Shackleton Ell is in the grounds of Ballintubbert House, in a sleepy rural setting about 10 minutes from Athy and Stradbally – both with supermarkets – and about 10 minutes away from the main Dublin-Cork motorway.

Pilgrimages were made as early as 1540 to partake of the beneficial waters from a healing well which now sits in the graveyard of St Brigid’s church, a stone’s throw from the house.

Some interesting history…

The renowned poet laureate Cecil Day–Lewis, father of actor Daniel Day–Lewis, was born in this garden wing of the house in 1904, and on a return visit in the 1960’s penned the poem The House Where I Was Born here.

The dramatic actor Sebastian Shaw, who was famously unmasked as Darth Vader in Star Wars Return of the Jedi, owned Ballintubbert for a period during 1940s & 50s.

Sir John Hurt the inveterate and highly acclaimed English actor who harboured a love of Ireland subsequently bought and occupied the house from the mid 1980’s.

John Hurt

Athy Heritage Centre-Museum has the only permanent exhibition anywhere devoted to Sir Ernest Shackleton, the great 20th century polar explorer, who was born at Kilkea House, near Athy, in 1874. Highlights include an original sledge and harness from his Antarctic expeditions

Slieve Bloom Mountains

photo Mooro1

Click here for more information on Ireland’s Ancient East

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The very British expletive “Gordon Bennett” is an expression of incredulity which alludes to the outrageous behaviour of the American sportsman, publisher and all-round hell-raiser James Gordon Bennett Jr. who sponsored the first ever international motor race.
The course chosen for the first race outside France, was centred on Athy. England was to host the 1903 competition but motor racing was forbidden there. As a compliment to Ireland the British team chose to race in Shamrock green which thus became known as British racing green.

old car ralley pic

To the west, the Slieve Bloom Mountains along with the Massif Central in France, are the oldest mountains in Europe. Once also the highest at 3,700m, 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 starts about half an hour away. You could try a part of it…

Stradbally is home to the oldest established heritage railway in Ireland. This narrow gauge railway is operated and managed by the Irish Steam Preservation Society.

steam tractor

How to get there - Car advised..

By Air: Flights to Dublin, Cork or Shannon airports.
Dublin Airport – approx 1 and half hours from the house.
Cork Airport - approx 2 hours from house.
Shannon Airport – usually under 2 hours from house.

By Sea: Ferry crossings
Dublin City Port/Holyhead has a fast crossing and is about an hour and a half from the house
Rosslare Harbour for Ferries to South Wales is usually under 2 hours from house.

Photo Gallery

Gallery of photographs