Impressively perched on a promontory above the River Boyne, this handsome Victorian and Italianate house commands superb views across the fields to the famous megalithic passage tombs of Knowth, and, closest of all, the grass-topped Newgrange. The whole area is steeped in legend and folklore – and all 196 acres of the Rossnaree estate are part of that history.
Not only does the property have significant links with one of the most important battles in Irish history, the Battle of the Boyne, but also with the monks of Mellifont Abbey, legendary Irish warrior Cuchullain, and the Salmon of Knowledge, caught and cooked here by Finn MacCumhail.
The history doesn’t stop outdoors either. Inside this large family home, belonging to the Laws since 1925, you’ll find a gorgeous interior tastefully styled with wonderful old portraits, family silver, crystal glass and antiques.
Aisling and the late Robert Law set about refurbishing the house in 2000, preserving the family history and adding rare art and textile collections from their travels in Africa and, since Robert’s death in 2004, Aisling has continued to welcome guests to this very special house.
Each of the four bedrooms is individually themed, from the flamboyantly floral William Morris room, to the dreamy Bird Room, hand painted with Chinese style birds and flowers by her nephew, artist Samuel Horler.
Aisling is also an artist of some repute and enjoys an impressive lineage – her great grandmother was the revolutionary figure, Maud Gonne, her grandfather was the prolific writer Francis Stuart, and her parents were both celebrated sculptors. A converted loft studio on the estate is used for art courses throughout they year, and attracts guest teachers.
The entrance to Rossnaree is on a dangerous bend; but when you enter the avenue the encroaching trees part to reveal a real beauty of a house. A friendly donkey grazes on the lawn, country flowers brush against the windows, and the views of the countryside are breathtaking.
Guests can arrange to fish the river, or simply borrow wellington boots to stroll along its banks, perhaps covered in blackberries or revealing a fishing heron.
Breakfast is a grand affair, served in the elegant dining room in front of a crackling log fire. Fresh fruits, excellent brown bread, homemade muesli and conserves are followed by a short selection of cooked items. Dinner can be arranged a day in advance, provided there are 4 or more guests. (Slane is less than 10 minutes away, should you wish to dine out.)
With an honesty bar, stacks of interesting books and magazines, and viewsacross valley to Newgrange the drawing room is a lovely place to relax.
The silence and sense of history here make Rossnaree an enchanting bolthole, ideal for a quick escape from Dublin - and this immaculately maintained house is ideal for taking over with a few friends.