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But Sandbrook House in Ballon, Co Carlow, also feels homely, partly because its owner has left his mark on the place with those books and family mementoes dotted amid a mix of antique and contemporary furniture.
Set on twenty five acres of mature parkland, this substantial residence is situated in the heart of the countryside, on the Wicklow and Carlow border.
Bella Huddart loves cars, while Christopher Bielenberg admits he’s no petrolhead. That didn’t stop them getting together at a rally, and now they share a passion for houses
There is self-catering, and then there is Sandbrook House. Tootling towards this 18th-century pile, down an avenue flanked with big trees and munching horses, the late-summer sunlight makes even our humble motor feel as if it’s making a grand arrival.