Dream house on shores of Lough Derg on the market for €295k
Set in highly coveted lakeside location, Dromeela is ideal for families
Towards the end of the late 18th century, the east Clare townland of Ogonnelloe was well known as a centre for illicit poitín distilling.
The distillers had to work in secret to avoid paying heavy taxes imposed on them by the British government, always trying to stay one step ahead of the authorities.
Patrick O'Brien, in his book about the area, Looking Over My Shoulder, gives an account about a visiting French aristocrat, Chevalier De Latocnaye, and a lieutenant from the regiment based in nearby Killaloe attempting to dislodge a band of distillers from a towerhouse called Castlebawn, on a small offshore island on Lough Derg.
They brought in a cannon to encourage their departure but it was too far away to be effective and in the end, they starved them out after 15 days. To ensure they would never have a situation like this again, they brought in explosives to make the towerhouse unusable. Today, you can visit that very towerhouse. After extensive reconstruction, Castlebawn was rebuilt and is now run as a luxury bed and breakfast.
A trip out to the island would be possible from Dromeela - a five-bed house with access to a private jetty on the lake. Properties on Lough Derg are highly coveted and this would be an ideal retreat for a large family with a love of water.
The area around Ogonnelloe and neighbouring Killaloe has direct access to Ireland's 'pleasure lake', and is renowned for its scenery, atmosphere and passion for every type of water sport.
At 2,118 sq ft, Dromeela is a very spacious house with remarkable lake views. It is entered via electronic gates and sits on 0.86 acres. The house comes in good condition, but new owners will need to update in places, and inject some new life into the interiors.
All of the downstairs reception rooms lead into one another. To the left of the entrance hall is a large living room. This room has an open fireplace with marble surround and wonderful views. There is a conservatory off the living room, which leads into the dining room and kitchen. This is a very bright room with double aspect windows and patio doors out onto the garden. There is a utility room and guest wc off the kitchen. You are then led back to the front of the house, to the study.
Upstairs, there are five double bedrooms. All come with a view and two are en-suite. There is also a family bathroom on this floor.
The garden is mostly laid out in lawn. It is interspersed with small trees and flowering shrubs, and also features a fountain. To the side of the house is a large boathouse and storage shed. Water is from a well and there is a septic tank. One of the main attractions is the private jetty with direct access to the lake. While most people only get to enjoy the views of Lough Derg from afar, the owners of Dromeela would have VIP passes.
Dromeela is 2km outside Ogonnelloe, a small village between Scariff and Killaloe in east Clare. Most of the parish lies in a valley, with high hills in the background. The area became very popular with retirees and rat race escapees in the Celtic Tiger days. Ireland's best known lottery winner, Dolores McNamara, spent €1.7m of her €115m jackpot on Lough Derg Hall - a mansion on 38 acres in Ogonnelloe. It's rumoured Robert De Niro was interested in the property before she snatched it up.
The heritage town of Killaloe is 8km away, and has a wide range of craft shops, restaurants and pubs. There is a Supervalu supermarket in Killaloe but for larger supermarkets, Limerick is about a half-hour drive away and has Tesco, Dunnes, Aldi and Lidl.
Shannon Airport can be reached in 45 minutes and has flights to and from London, Alicante, Berlin and New York, to name but a few.
What to do
Life in these parts is mainly centred around Lough Derg. If you're not looking for anything too strenuous, you can hire a boat and sail around the lake, or hop onto one of the cruisers and let someone else do the hard work. A boat trip out to Holy Island, one of Ireland's most famous monastic sites, is a great way to spend an afternoon.
About halfway between Ogonnelloe and Killaloe is the well-known 'swimming spot'. You can access the water from a small sandy beach, which is shallow and safe for children. Swimmers can wade their way out and find their own depth. This part of the lake comes alive during the summer months, with families, tourists and adventurous teenagers.
Beside the 'swimming spot' you'll find the popular UL Adventure Centre. You can book in for sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, archery, team-building activity days and more.
When you've had enough of the water, you can enjoy the many walking trails around the area, like the East Clare Way and the Lough Derg Way. There are also cycling and mountain bike trails.
Eating and Drinking
In Ogonnelloe itself, Piper's Inn is the place to go. Established in the 1920s, the pub was made famous between 1978 and 1987 by the original 'Piper', Tony Keegan, who ran the inn as a centre for traditional music. It closed its doors in 2007, and, under new owners, re-opened in 2012 as a restaurant and bar.
Other food options involve the five-minute drive into Killaloe. Gooser's Bar and Restaurant has a cosy fire for cold days and outdoor seating for hot ones. It serves hot food all day and gets very busy in the summer months. The town's 'special occasion' restaurant is The Cherry Tree. Chef Harry McKeogh has won many awards for his contemporary cooking in this waterside venue.
For coffee and cake, The Wooden Spoon on Bridge Street in Killaloe is hard to beat.
Ogonnelloe itself is very quiet, however, drive five minutes down the road to Killaloe and things are a lot livelier, especially in the summer months. Families flock here for holidays, with children heading to the watersports camps in the UL Activity Centre, and parents sitting back and enjoying the break and the sun (when it shines).
There is a Steiner School about five minutes from Ogonnelloe, which is a big attraction in east Clare for parents seeking an alternative to main-stream education for their children. Families come from all over the world to enrol their children in the school.
What's Not To Like
When some people think of holidays, they instantly picture a beach.
Unfortunately, this beautiful part of Clare is lacking the sand and sea. A drive to the beaches on the west coast would take over an hour.
Ogonnelloe, Co Clare
Asking price: €295,000
Agent: Ganly Walters (01) 6623255