Geraldine Jacob, who inherited Rathmeel from her late parents, brings the house to the market with regret as it is a home full of happy memories for her and her children who spent many summers there with their grandparents.
"My mother was a great cook," she says, "and there were a lot of parties in the house."
A large detached house, Rathmeel is set back from the road on a private elevated site of approx 0.7 of an acre with panoramic views over the River Moy close to Ballina Quay - Mayo's last discovery point on the Wild Atlantic Way.
There is an option to purchase an additional 0.84 acre site across the road with direct access to the river.
Christy and Violet Jacob were both from the Ballina area, and emigrated to America in 1964 with their three children. Geraldine was then aged seven, and recalls boarding the ship in November and making the passage with her mother and two brothers, her father having gone on ahead to secure work. The family settled in Westfield, New Jersey, where Violet worked for the Town, and Christy for General Motors.
"They bought Rathmeel in 1988 in preparation for their retirement," explains Geraldine, "and used it as a holiday home until moving back to Ireland in 1995. After that, they divided their time between their children and grandchildren in the US, and their brothers and sisters in Mayo. My father and mother both loved Ballina, and Rathmeel was an ideal location because the Quay area was well known to both of them. My father was a boat man and loved the water. He always had a boat, both as a young man in Ireland and later in the States. He loved fishing, although he preferred the sea to the river. As a young man he used to pile people into his boat and go to Bartragh for the day and have a picnic.
"At one point my father had a boat launch on the edge of the field. He laid railroad tracks out to the low tide channel and had a gas-powered winch that pulled the boat in on to the tracks. The winch was created from a petrol-powered snowblower engine that he had shipped to Ireland with their personal belongings in 1993. Needless to say it was a really bad winter that year in New Jersey and we had no snowblower to use, and had to shovel!"
Rathmeel dates from the 1970s, and Christy and Violet undertook extensive renovations. Now it is a modern four-bedroom house with a large American-style basement and garage.
"They did up the kitchen, laid hardwood flooring in the dining room, and added a conservatory and patio. My father loved his gardening and had the front of the house filled with rose bushes and oriental poppies. A back garage was excavated and built into the hillside. It became a place to store tools and over-winter his boat."
The house has 3m-high ceilings throughout and the 7.3m drawing room to the front of the house has floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the river. Patio doors lead from the kitchen to the conservatory and from the dining room to the rear gardens, and steps lead down from the patio to a sheltered southwest-facing garden in lawn. The four double bedrooms all have built-in wardrobes, and the en-suite master bedroom has large windows overlooking the river. There are three further bathrooms.
The basement accommodates a laundry room, store room, office, shower room and space suitable as overflow guest accommodation, playroom or games room. There's a basement garage with electric doors.
"I call it my Ireland home," says Geraldine. "I love the expanse of the house and the gardens, sitting on the front porch reading a book, watching the sunset and the activity on the river, and waving to passers by. There's a great view from that porch. Keane's shop up the road is handy to walk to in the evenings with the kids for ice cream and sweets, and also great for bread, milk and other necessities.
"As much as I don't want to sell it, the reality is that it is a home that needs to be lived in and appreciated. It needs a family to live there and enjoy what the property has to give."
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald Feeney West (096) 72828