George and Antoinette Kavanagh have been welcoming guests to their lovely hillside house above Waterford city since 1996 and the story of how they came to be here is an interesting one.
The Kavanagh family were devastated when their three acre garden in Waterford city was compulsorily purchased some years ago, and this house on the opposite hill became the focus of their dreams; it was built in 1746 and is one of five houses built by the Pope family, who made their fortune as wine merchants during the Napoleonic embargo.
George and Antoinette managed to buy it in 1995 and moved in, transplanting 2,000 plants from their previous garden. They also planted 20,000 daffodils and over 400 species roses and - thanks to a map in the National Archives - rediscovered the original paths in the upper part of the garden, which lies in Kilkenny.
And they have been restoring and replanting ever since. So this is more a garden with a house in it, rather than a house with a garden attached - but what a house, all the same. Classically proportioned rooms are furnished with fine antiques and - while garden maintenance may take precedence over the house at times - George and Antoinette are great hosts, who really enjoy sharing their home and garden with visitors.
Their many plans for the house include restoring the ballroom, and adding a spa in the basement.