Steel fencing now surrounds homes once expected to get €250,000 each
IT had initially appeared as an idyllic edge-of-village setting in the very heart of a vibrant, close-knit community.
The potential the Annagh Banks development offered to investors must have seemed irresistible. Architect-designed, two-storey semi-detached dwellings, with spectacular views of the rolling Sliabh Mish mountains and the surrounding mid-Kerry landscape, it had been considered by some to be one of the more attractive projects of its kind in the county.
When it received planning permission in 2006 the development might well have been expected to be worth up to €7m when completed, as the developer also intended developing nine apartments, a pub/restaurant, a 12-bedroom hotel and two retail units.
Work quickly got under way on the houses in the hope these might be sold either to investors, local people or those in search of a holiday home near to popular Kerry holiday retreats such as Tralee and Inch Strand. At the time the houses might have sold for around €250,000 each or a total of €3.5m.
Now some local experts suggest that when fitted out the houses might make about €100,000 each.
"Most local people would prefer detached or at least semi-detached houses, so the terraced houses may prove more difficult to sell," one agent suggested.
A very short stroll from the busy Castlemaine village, and directly opposite a highly-rated primary school, the development was pitched at young families, newly-weds seeking a start, holiday home hunters and retired people. Annagh Banks is at the gateway to the beautiful Dingle Peninsula, just 19km from the blue flag beach at Inch where the 1970's blockbuster Ryan's Daughter was filmed.
At first glance, and despite local warnings about natural flood plains and inadequate infrastructure, the development itself was certainly not devoid of significant selling points. It comprised three neat and well-proportioned rows of well-designed, terraced dwellings, finished in attractive brick and painted plaster, with brightly coloured panelled front doors and sun-trap skylight features.
Ample green space had been allocated adjacent to the houses, which are located right beside a natural stone bridge.
The now deserted estate was entirely cordoned off by high-security steel fencing last night.
Local architect Gerard O'Dowd had got the development under way by applying for planning permission for Annagh Banks in 2003 but a spokesman for Allsop Space declined to disclose the name of the vendor or if Mr O'Dowd was the developer.
However, he said it was being sold by a private vendor and not a receiver. The whole estate is now on offer for €50,000.