Friday 20 October 2017

In the footsteps of Yeats

Close to Strandhill and nestled amid scenery that inspired great poet

The open-plan kitchen/dining area has floor-to-ceiling windows, making the most of the views
The open-plan kitchen/dining area has floor-to-ceiling windows, making the most of the views
One of the bungalow's four bedrooms
Dining with a view
The exterior of the property
The open-plan living area with floor-to-ceiling windows
The locale is renowned for its scenery
Beauty spots such as Glencar Valley are within the wider, Sligo area

Alison Gill

Ransboro is seven kilometres away from Sligo's current hotspot. Strandhill, the jewel in Sligo's crown, has always been popular with buyers but agents have seen prices soar in the area in the last few years.

In December 2013, a house in Kevinsfort Heath on Strandhill Road sold for €260,000. In May 2016, the house next door went on the market and sold for €346,175.

It was the scenery and views at this location that proved the main attraction for the owners of a detached bungalow in the nearby townland of Kilmacowen.

"Besides being situated in such a prime area of the Knocknarea Peninsula, the property sits on a private, one-acre site with mature landscaping and stunning views. The house is also just minutes from Strandhill and Sligo town, in such a safe, family friendly community," says one of the owners.

The bungalow was originally built in the 1980s but the current owners put so much work into it that they claim it was practically "an entire new-build".

The house

Those looking for the hassle-free option will definitely be interested in this bungalow. It comes to the market looking like a showhouse, with all of the hard work already done, including underfloor heating throughout.

With a floor area of 3,525 sq ft, this home is large enough for two families wanting to invest in a second home together.

The exterior has been clad in ecologically friendly cement weatherboard and has solid stone window sills.

The entrance hall has recessed lighting as well as a chandelier, a cloakroom and silver oak laminate flooring.

Off the hall is the open-plan living area with a bio-fuel fireplace, that would also be suitable for a solid fuel stove. The room is nice and bright thanks to the floor-to-ceiling triple-glazed windows and doors at the dining area, making the most of the views out to Knocknarea.

The kitchen is fitted with solid wood units with chrome handles and a grey Axiom worktop. Included in the sale are a built-in stainless steel microwave/grill and double oven, an induction hob and dishwasher. There is also an island and pantry. Off the kitchen, the utility room has a washer-dryer, extra storage units and a sink.

The master bedroom is down a private hallway, and has floor-to-ceiling windows, and an en suite bathroom with a free-standing bath, two sinks and a chrome rain-shower.

There are three more bedrooms, one with an en suite shower room, and the main bathroom. The fourth bedroom is currently being used as a study.

The loft area upstairs has been converted and is a large (17m x 5m) space that could be used as another bedroom for a group of kids, a playroom or even a gym.

The house has a B3 BER thanks to the triple-glazed windows, extra insulation and zoned heating system.

Set on one acre, the garden is mostly laid out in lawn and has a chicken coop, tool shed and a large garage which could be converted and used as a home office or as extra accommodation.

The Locale

Kilmacowen is a tiny townland in Ransboro, Co Sligo. There's not much to Ransboro outside of the local school but a drive into Sligo town takes about 10 minutes on the N4, while Strandhill is just over five minutes away on the R292.

Sligo has a huge selection of supermarkets and other more interesting independent shops and bakeries. Strandhill is more of a seaside village with a good choice of bars and restaurants.

Things to do

Voya seaweed baths are based in Strandhill and well worth a visit. The baths were opened in 1996 after local man Neil Walton rediscovered the many benefits of seaweed therapy while in Australia.

He decided to come back to Sligo and revive the tradition in his hometown of Strandhill. Visitors come from all over the world to experience the apparent healing properties of seaweed - which many believe can speed up the healing process after an injury and generally detoxify the body.

Fans of WB Yeats will know that he has always been associated with Sligo, so it's interesting to note that he never actually lived there. He was born in Dublin but his long summers in Sligo with relatives had a lasting impression on him, as seen in his poetry. He died in France in 1939 but his body was moved to Drumcliffe in Sligo in 1948. You can bring his words to life on tours of the county where you'll be taken to places of interest and inspiration like Lough Gill, Lissadell House and Glencar Valley.

Eating and drinking

If you don't want to venture far, just out the road at Ransboro is the Wild Atlantic Food Café.

It's open daily for breakfast and lunch and has a nice selection of sandwiches, including options for vegans, like hummus, balsamic tomatoes and avocado on freshly baked bread.

In Strandhill, it's impossible to walk past the window of Shells Café and Little Shop without stopping and ogling at their cakes, are all baked in-house. An organic coffee with one of their buttery scones is a treat you'll look forward to on a regular basis.

For something more substantial, The Venue Bar and Restaurant, also in Strandhill, has a full menu that includes local seafood and steaks. You can pop into the bar afterwards for some traditional music in a lively atmosphere.

The crowd

Houses in Strandhill are expensive so the population is mostly made up of professionals who want to raise their families in the area.

One such family is that of Westlife's Kian Egan, with his wife Jodi Albert and their two sons. Speaking to Ryan Tubridy last year, Egan said: "I suppose as the years went on and we got married and started having children, and talked about the idea of where they would grow up and what type of lifestyle we wanted them to have, it just felt like, no matter where we went in the world, Strandhill was the place for us."

What's not to like

Strandhill beach is beautiful and was recently voted No 5 of Ireland's Top 10 beaches on Tripadvisor, however, swimming is forbidden there due to strong currents. However this doesn't stop surfers travelling from far and wide to indulge in the sport at what is considered one of Ireland's best beach breaks.

Kilmacowen

Ransboro, Co Sligo

Asking price: €395,000

Agent: Tommy Brehony, Oates Breheny Group, (071) 9140404

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