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Irish Manor House near Bushmills

irish manor house

Dundarave is a magnificent Irish manor house situated between the famous Bushmills Village (home to the whiskey) and the Giants Causeway, a World Heritage Site and the most visited attraction in Ireland, says agent Savills. This is combined with the spectacular North Antrim coast with its heritage walks along the cliffs from Portstewart through Portrush, Giants Causeway and on past Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge to Ballycastle and the scenic views seaward of the majestic Rathlin Island and further to the coast of Scotland beyond.

North Antrim Coast
North Antrim

This part of Northern Ireland has many attractions which draw people from all over the world, as mentioned the Giants Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Bushmills Distillery, Royal Portrush Golf Course (plus several others in the vicinity), the magnificent beaches of Portstewart and Castlerock Strand on the Atlantic, Rathlin Island (where Richard Branson famously crashed landed his balloon into the sea)

Giants Causeway

There are records of the Dundarave demesne going back to 28th April 1739, when a Fee Farm Grant was issued to William Harrison from Lord Antrim and a further Fee Farm Grant was issued to Edmund Macnaghten from Lord Antrim on 24th February 1748. There was then a conveyance from Alexander Harrison to John Dunkin on 20th June 1759. It is known the Dunkin family lived in Bushmills House in the latter part of the 18th century. A subsequent conveyance from Sir William Dunkin to Francis (later Sir Francis) Macnaghten is dated 23rd February 1805, Francis having married Sir William’s daughter, Letitia. Since 1805, the Macnaghten family has owned Bushmills House, and subsequently Dundarave.

Bushmills Distillery

Sir Francis Macnaghten was a judge of the Madras and Calcutta supreme courts and was honoured with a Baronetcy in 1836. At Bushmills, he significantly extended Bushmills House, probably between about 1820 and 1830. However, his son, Sir Edmund Macnaghten clearly did not approve of the extensions and built Dundarave at a location about 200 yards from the site of Bushmills House. The old house was completely destroyed and there is nothing visible except the old walled garden.

Dundarave was built between 1846 and 1849 and was designed by Sir Charles Lanyon. The design is modelled on the London Reform Club. Sir Edmund lived in the house until his death in 1876, when he was succeeded by his eldest son Sir Francis, who was Lord Lieutenant of County Antrim from 1890 until his death in 1911.

Sir Francis was succeeded at Dundarave by his nephew Sir Charles, eldest son of Lord Macnaghten. Sir Charles undertook a major renovation of the house which included the introduction of plumbing, electricity and central heating. Sir Charles died soon afterwards. His two sons (Sir Harry and Sir Douglas) succeeded one after the other, both of them being killed in the First World War during the Battle of the Somme.

One interesting footnote concerns Sir Harry’s batman, Robert Quigg, who had been a gardener at Dundarave before the war. Subsequent to his (unsuccessful) efforts to rescue Sir Harry from no-mans-land, Robert Quigg was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Robert Quigg VC

After the war, Sir Charles’ brother, another Sir Francis lived in Dundarave. He was succeeded at Dundarave by his nephew Sir Antony in 1952, who in turn was succeeded by his eldest son, Sir Patrick, in 1972. The current owner, Sir Malcolm, succeeded his father in 2007.

Although the Macnaghten Family has had a presence in North Antrim since about 1580, they continue their close historic links with Scotland. The current baronet is the Chief of the Clan Macnaghten and, indeed, the name of the Irish Manor House, ‘Dundarave’ is derived from the former Clan seat Dunderave Castle which is located North of Inveraray on the shore of Loch Fyne in Scotland.

Dunderave Castle

The House

The Dundarave Estate is centred on Dundarave House and its surrounding landscaped grounds. Extending to about 595 acres (222 hectares) Dundarave is truly a classic estate combining all the desirable ingredients: a principal house, estate cottages, parkland, farming and sport.

Dunderave House, Irish Manor House
Dunderave House

The Grade I Listed mansion house, designed by Sir Charles Landyon, is classical in style. The house has elegant well portioned reception rooms with thoughtfully laid out gardens in an exceptionally private site within the estate. There are a total of 6 estate dwellings, none of which impinge on the privacy of the main house.

Dunderave House, Irish Manor House
Dunderave Estate

There are three entrances to Dundarave. The front drive is guarded to by the Grade I Gate Lodge and meanders through glorious old woodland, opening out to gently undulating parkland and finally arriving to the house, fronted by its sweeping lawns.

Dunderave House, Irish Manor House
Dunderave Estate

The main block of the house is laid out over 2 principal floors with a two storey over basement wing to the East.

The 5 principal rooms are located on the ground floor, mostly off the Great Hall. On entering the house, a vaulted vestibule leads directly into the magnificent Great Hall which was designed from the hall of the Reform Club in London. The hall rises to the full height of the building with a galleried landing at first floor level and lit by a finely plastered cupola.

Great Hall, Irish Manor House
Great Hall

At ground floor level the Great Hall features carved timber pillars with a painted marble design which are flanked by green marble arches. There is a central open fireplace with decorative mantelpiece sitting on Corinthian pillars. This is overlooked by the first floor picture gallery with carved timber banisters which support twenty Doric columns, which in turn support the elaborate cupola. The cupola features twelve semi-circular windows and ornate ceiling with eight recessed square panels arranged around an octagon panel, all with decorative plaster work.

The drawing room is lit with three large Wyatt windows which flood the rooms with natural light.

There is a magnificent ceiling with ornate cornice and frieze, decorative plaster work with recessed diamond panels and central recessed square panels surrounding a central rose.

This room also boasts a white marble mantelpiece and large double doors lead into the dining room.

The dining room is another fine spacious room with marble fireplace, decorative ceiling and frieze together with three large windows.

Dining Room, Irish Manor House
Dining Room

The other principal rooms include the morning room, also accessed from the Great Hall and with a large bay window enjoying fine views over the surrounding grounds of this fabulous Irish manor house.

Snug, Irish Manor House

The billiards room and the library are accessed from the entrance vestibule. Other rooms on the ground floor include the serving pantry, school room, two bedrooms, shower room and a number of service rooms.

Views from Dunderave House

There are seven principal bedrooms off the galleried landing on the first floor. The main suite is the Brown Room with an ensuite bathroom and a separate dressing room. Two more bedrooms enjoy private dressing rooms and there is a bathroom on this main landing.

Dunderave House, Irish Manor House
Dunderave House

The wing houses 7 further bedrooms with two bathrooms.

The basement is accessed by two sets of staircases and has a range of useful rooms including the main kitchen with ancillary rooms off, the servant’s hall, housekeeper’s room, the cellar and a number of store rooms.

This Irish Manor House was listed by Savills in 2014 for £5,000,000 and the full details, including the floorplan can be found on Rightmove here: 11 bedroom detached house for sale in Bushmills, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, BT57 8ST, BT57 (

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