Kerry property with lakeside views on the market for €1.9m
Over four acres of lush gardens add to Lakefield's outstanding setting
You can't wander far in County Kerry without stumbling across a sloth of tourists, standing around filming stationary objects and generally getting in everyone's way.
Kerry has been like that now for at least a century and a half, since the Great Southern & Western Railway began throwing up hotels in the 19th century to boost tourist traffic to the area.
One of these was the Great Southern Hotel near Caragh Lake railway station, a train stop serving what is arguably one of the finest beauty spots in south Kerry. Though both the hotel and the railway line are now long gone, Caragh Lake remains a magnet for tourists.
It's also a magnet for the endangered Kerry Slug, which was discovered on the shores of the lake in 1842, and which also tends to get in everyone's way - or at least everyone who might be hoping to build a road, or a hotel, or a house.
Lakefield House, right on the water's edge, was built back in 1978, and as there's nothing left to be done with the place, there's really no risk of falling out with heartfelt advocates of the Kerry Slug.
There's not much risk of falling out with tourists either, as the house is pleasantly secluded. Slack-jawed sightseers might amble past the front gate all day and you'd never notice them.
Designed by its current owner, Lakefield is in essence an oblong dormer bungalow with two separate guesthouses, although that description doesn't do it much justice as it makes no mention of the outstanding setting.
The beauty of the lake is just one aspect of that setting. The owners of Lakefield have abetted nature all over the 4.4 acres of grounds, creating a lush and intricate garden that sets off the views of water, mountain and sky, and ends at the shoreline where there's a boathouse and slipway.
The house itself is 3,500 sq ft, and the best rooms are at the back, on the western elevation, overlooking Caragh Lake and the sunsets.
To the left of the entrance hall on the ground floor there's a triple-aspect sitting and dining room running the length of the house, with a marble floor and a stone fireplace. A door in the western wall here gives onto a sun terrace outside. Straight ahead from the hall is the kitchen, which has another door to the terrace.
The kitchen is fitted with wooden cabinets with white louvred doors and tiled countertops, and has a breakfast bar, and there's a separate utility room off the hall.
There's one bedroom on the ground floor too, with an en-suite shower room, which a new owner may prefer to use as a play room or study.
There is another study on the first floor though, with a fireplace. This is at one corner of the master bedroom, which also has an en-suite bathroom and walk-in wardrobe. The second and third bedrooms on the first floor give onto a balcony overlooking the gardens and the lake.
That's three or possibly four bedrooms in the main house, but Lakefield comes with plenty of rooms for overnighters as well, in the shape of a traditional two-bedroom cottage and a modern lodge with two apartments. This means if your friends want to come and visit to behave like tourists - wearing Bermuda shorts in the rain and so on - at least you might not have to witness them doing it.
The cottage has an open-plan kitchen, dining room and living room with a Liscannor flagstone floor and a double-sided fireplace in the middle. The two bedrooms and bathroom are off this room.
The guest lodge has an apartment on each floor. On the ground floor there's a two-bedroom apartment with an open-plan living and dining room and a small kitchen. The first-floor apartment is similar in layout, and has three bedrooms and another open-plan living and dining room and small kitchen.
Several other outbuildings are scattered around the property. Most are used for storage but one has been converted to a games room and sauna. Down on the lakeshore the stone boathouse has space for at least one lake boat and rafter storage for canoes.
The expansive gardens are in various sections, including lawns and a woodland area, as well as a walled rose garden and another walled 'secret garden'. There are huge and brilliant azaleas, gnarled old trees clothed in flowering climbers, and curving lawns - the whole is an appealing mix of wildness and order.
From here it's about seven kilometres to Killorglin, but the railway station there closed in 1960. You have to drive about 30 kilometres to Killarney to catch a train now, or you can drive the same distance to Farranfore and catch a plane instead.
Lakefield House is for sale with Savills in Cork (021) 427 1371 and has an asking price of €1.9m.
Caragh Lake, near Killorglin, Co Kerry
Asking price: €1.9m
Agent: Savills in Cork (021) 427 1371