Boat in your backyard
Take a cruiser from your back lawn to every coast of Ireland
Kingfisher Lodge in Ballina, Co Tipperary is a perfect heatwave home for those who love messing around in boats, particularly in cruisers. It's got a private harbour and boathouse right at the end of its garden with direct access onto Lough Derg. Tourists pay good money for trips on the Shannon all year round, but the owners of Kingfisher Lodge can just head out onto the water on a whim from their garden and lunch across the way in Dromineer or Terryglass.
From this spot on Lough Derg you can take your cruiser all over. The Shannon system takes you up to scenic Leitrim and to Ballyconnell and Carrick-on-Shannon. You can head as far north as Enniskillen and Kesh or you can head downwards to Limerick. Both Dublin serving canals are linked in, so it's now possible to travel on this waterway to the capital along the Royal and the Grand which take you through the midlands en route.
At 32,000 acres, Lough Derg is the third largest lake in Ireland and is fully navigable. It stretches from Portumna down to Killaloe/Ballina, and is heaving with activity in the summer months. The University of Limerick Activity Centre is on the shores of the lake, just outside Killaloe.
Families come from all over the country for the kids' water camps here. Children from as young as six can build their water confidence through sailing, kayaking and paddle boarding, while their parents explore the many walks on offer, or just sit back and enjoy the cafes and restaurants dotted around the lake.
Lough Derg is also a fisherman's dream. It's famous for its brown trout and pike fishing, but also has perch, roach, salmon and bream. The open season is from mid-March to the end of September, peaking in April/May when fish are in prime condition from feeding on mayfly.
A young family with a love for water would be perfectly suited to Kingfisher Lodge. The setting of the house will be a big draw for interested buyers. It's just on the water's edge at the south side of the lake but set back far enough to be private and peaceful. It sits on 1.3 acres and has a floor area of 3,444 sq ft. Built in 1994, and extended in 2007, the house is well-maintained but could do with some modernisation.
The entrance hall leads you into the sitting room with wooden floors, wood-burning stove with brick surround and carved bookcases. To the right of this room is a bedroom with an en suite bathroom. On the other side of the house is the kitchen, dining room and another living room. The kitchen has solid timber fitted units, a range oven and a water-purifying system attached to the sink.
There are doors out to a sheltered veranda, which would be an ideal spot for a barbecue, even with rain threatening. The utility room off the kitchen has a washing machine, dryer and storage. The dining room has lake views and doors out to the lawn. The living room is also heated by a wood-burning stove and has doors out to a decking area.
There is a large internal corridor linking the two sides of the house that has a small area for a home office, if required. There are four bedrooms on the ground floor, two with an en suite bathroom. There is also a family bathroom on this level. Upstairs, there are two more bedrooms, both with en suite bathrooms and walk-in wardrobes. One of them has a balcony with lake views.
Outside is where the magic really happens for this property. The gardens are mostly set in lawn that sweep down to the lake. The top lawn has a very large decking area that new owners will either love or hate.
It would be fabulous for parties, with room for all your guests to sit around. Others may prefer something more subtle for entertaining, but with so much space to the back of the house, it would be possible to construct whatever your heart, or budget, desires.
The harbour and slipway are to the side of the lower lawn. The harbour is big enough to fit a couple of boats and there is a boathouse for smaller vessels.
There is also an orchard on the higher grounds to the side of the property, as well as a greenhouse and vegetable patch. A double garage has a side annex for a ride-on lawn mower, and there are two sheds for extra storage.
The house is about a five-minute drive outside the twin towns of Ballina and Killaloe. This is a very popular area with young families, particularly those looking for an alternative education for their children in the nearby Steiner School in Raheen. There is a great choice of cafes and pubs in the area, like Goosers and The Wooden Spoon, or The Piper's Inn, further out the road to Ogonnelloe.
New owners will have to be the kind of people who are open to visitors though, because if the sun keeps shining, there'll be no end to the requests for boat trips around the lake.
Kingfisher Lodge is for sale through joint agents Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes (01) 237 6402 and Sherry FitzGerald Talbot (067) 31496 with a guide price of €985,000.
Ballina, Co Tipperary
Asking price: €985,000
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes, (01) 237 6403 and Sherry FitzGerald Talbot, (067) 31496