Friday 20 September 2019

Eco Beach - the seafront villa of Ireland's first internet guru

Silver Beach is the A3 rated seafront villa of Ireland's original internet guru, writes Mark Keenan

Silver Beach - the Boyne Valley culture landed right here on this strand
Silver Beach - the Boyne Valley culture landed right here on this strand
Keyboard King: Gerry McGovern in 2001
The raised deck
Green Aga and open kitchen
The open kitchen
Walnut stair
Living room
An indoor perch from which to view the sea
Exterior
Mark Keenan

Mark Keenan

Arguably Ireland's very first true internet guru was the former Longford county footballer and Hotpress music journalist Gerry McGovern. His pioneering commercial internet consultancy Nua, founded in his living room in 1995, made headlines just three years later when Telecom Éireann bought 20pc of it for IR£5.3m. This marked the then state-owned comm giant's first foray into online commerce and likely the first proper scale Irish deal in an online enterprise.

Nua soared for a time, venturing forth from Ireland in an attempt to internationalise. However, like most early online enterprises of the 1990s it was whacked for six by the 'dotcom bomb' of 2000/2001 which saw internet stocks shed $5 trillion worldwide.

But almost a decade later, a more seasoned McGovern was back in the game as a leading international consultant. This time he would be in a position to take advantage of the next big crash to hit Ireland.

At the pinnacle of the Celtic Tiger in 2006, newly wealthy entrepreneurs were busy up and down the country building their dream home projects. One such property was Silver Beach at Gormanstown in Co Meath which was completed in 2007 right on a beachfront site and to a semi contemporary design by the acclaimed Drogheda-based architect Turlough McKevitt.

Keyboard King: Gerry McGovern in 2001
Keyboard King: Gerry McGovern in 2001

But just two years later in 2009 and at the lowest point in the Irish property market, the house was placed for sale again for €1.25m through the Hassett & FitzSimons agency. Likely to have cost considerably more to build that this, and with a gobsmackingly located three quarters of an acre seafront site, the six bedroom beach villa was snapped up by McGovern who has based himself here ever since.

McGovern today lists among his clients Microsoft, Dropbox, Cisco, NetApp, VMware and IBM, as well as consultancy work with six different governments. He's also busy with The Yelling Bones, a band which includes McGovern and former Whipping Boy bassist Myles McDonnell in its line up. The band released its debut album this year to critical acclaim..

In the intervening years the consultant invested in improving the property's eco credential. Now he's placing the home for sale for €1.3m, once again through the Hassett & FitzSimons agency.

Despite the pretty decent architecture, this home's biggest asset by far is the beach, the sea and the views. The house looks north to the mouth of the Boyne and to the Cooley and Mourne Mountains and south to Rockabill and Skerries. The property is approached off a small country road running along the Delvin river, and entered via electric gates. The Belfast to Dublin railway line runs next to it and, vitally for an international consultant, Dublin Airport is 20 minutes away.

The Meath coast runs for just 10km between Gormanston and Mornington, and the house is located just over the Dublin border where the River Delvin meets the sea. And this beach is one of the most ancient places in Ireland. It was right here that settlers are believed to have arrived in Ireland just over 10,000 years ago from Spain, to create the Boyne Valley culture that brought us Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. In 2002 a 4,000-year-old four-metre outrigger log boat was pulled out of the sand here. The village pub has a claim to be among the oldest in Ireland and the bridge dates from the 13th century. Recent investigations showed many of the homes in the area have been built of cob (earth and straw). To top it all, Ireland's first game of polo was hosted on these sands by Meath-based British 9th Lancers in 1870.

Despite its size (it spans 4,500 sq ft, or four times the size of the average family home) and its three storey height McKevitt softened its impact greatly by building in a two tone contrast to the exterior and dividing with the additional foil of a cut stone trunk and stairwell and front an dcentre. He also put the main living spaces on the upper floors to optimise the smashing views.

The open kitchen
The open kitchen

Silver Beach has underfloor heating at all levels, a Danfloss air/water heat pump, there are solar tubes to heat the hot water, it has thermal break double glazed windows and a decent sized solid fuel stove along with an A-rated condenser boiler and biocycle drainage. All of this helps to take it to a lofty A3 BER, impressive for a home of its age. On top of this there's a pressurised water system, mood lighting, a central vacuum system and smart wiring.

There are six bedrooms and four bathrooms. The house has two decent sized receptions and a huge 500 sq ft modern kitchen/ breakfast room and living room which has, at its centre point, a cosy Irish postbox green Aga. The house comes with its own music room/studio and a home gym with a sauna and an en suite bathroom. There are home offices and a good sized veranda looking out to sea.

The hall entrance, accessed off a flight of steps from the ground, has ceramic tiles and a glazed walnut screen. Walnut is a theme that runs through the joinery in the house. The asking price this time around is €1.3m.

An indoor perch from which to view the sea
An indoor perch from which to view the sea

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