Sunday 22 July 2018

In Pictures: Mystery millionaire built Kerry's most expensive pad - with its own lake, views to die for and wall-to-wall marble

With 13 acres, its own lake, views to die for and wall-to-wall marble, Long Lake was built to last, writes Mark Keenan

Long Lake House exterior
Long Lake House exterior
Long Lake House
Long Lake House billiards room
Long Lake House
Long Lake House
Long Lake House
Long Lake House stairs
Mark Keenan

Mark Keenan

LONG Lake House in Kenmare, Co Kerry, which took three years to build in the 1980s at a cost of more than €1.25m, has just been placed on the market for the first time since 2001 with a price tag of €3.25m attached - making it the Kingdom's most expensive palace.

The unusual hexagonal three-storey architect designed residence was completed to the very highest spec by its first owner - a mystery German millionaire who employed a German-led team of five craftsmen on site for 36 months. It is believed to be one of the most expensively finished homes in the country.

And at just under 10,000 sq ft, Long Lake can fit in the equivalent of a small cul-de-sac of average sized family homes within its walls. Its formal gardens of 13 acres include ponds, walks, a cedar-built staff cabin, a private pier, its own pontoon and mooring, a bridge which spans the inlet looking into a private lake which comes with a high shooting Lake Geneva-style fountain feature. The spec means it has also held up well to modern standards - it has a B3 BER rating.

In the 1980s Ireland experienced a flood of wealthy Germans seeking to acquire or build boltholes here amid the then Cold War tensions in Europe. A belief that the Auld Sod was the safest place to be in Europe if a Cold War missile exchange erupted between East and West played a big role.

Long Lake was offered for sale in 1991 by its second owner, a British businessman, with a price tag of €5m (IR£4m). At one point the businessman offered to throw in a free Rolls Royce as an incentive. It remained on the international market for 10 years before changing hands in 2001 at a price variously reported as being between €1.5m and €2.5m. The buyer was its current owner, a Tipperary-born businessman based in San Francisco. Along with his American-born wife, they have gotten maximum value out of the property by bringing their extended family over to Kenmare almost every summer. With their grandchildren now older, the couple are looking to trade down in the area.

Long Lake was designed for views and sits on a raised site on the Inveragh Peninsula between Kenmare and Sneem on the south Ring of Kerry.

Long Lake house and its surrounding gardens reflected in the water
Long Lake house and its surrounding gardens reflected in the water

The five-bedroom house has a Wicklow granite facade with a vast wraparound copper mansard roof and numerous viewing balconies to take in the scenery. The interior is largely floored in marble and granite and there's underfloor heating throughout. The accommodation is arranged around a huge central atrium with a mahogany and brass staircase running from the ground floor to the top of the house and lit by Persian onyx windows and top lights.

The upper hall has a big open fireplace. Blue Pearl granite enhances the flooring on most of the upper level including the games room with pool table, open fire and access to a small deck. Also, on this level is an office, a bedroom with built-in closet and shelving, the master bedroom and sky living room with heart-of-oak timber flooring. The master bathroom, with separate ensuite, has the same Blue Pearl granite finish and a Villeroy & Boch jacuzzi bath with overhead shower. A laundry chute serves the ground floor laundry.

Long Lake House
Long Lake House

The mid level is floored in Carrera marble. The library has an open fire place with a Zen-like sun above it. Bookshelves and a wet bar at one end, are built in Travertine marble. The living room has another open fire place and leads into the wrap-around dining room with two marble columns and an onyx wall, allowing light to the staircase outside.

The kitchen on this level comprises an outsized centre island with counter tops in granite, a double sink, a breakfast counter island, and a desk counter with glass cupboards and under-counter lighting. The units are by Siemens. Appliances include an American refrigerator/freezer, a six-ring ceramic stove and large oven from high-end manufacturers such as Miele and Neff. A large cold pantry/storage room is situated off the kitchen and laundry chute. A back door leads out to the garden.

Long Lake House billiards room
Long Lake House billiards room

There's a piano hall housing with grand piano and a series of gypsum reliefs, each independently lit. A separate ladies' powder room and gents' toilet, as well as a wine cellar, lead off this hall.

The ground level comprises three guest bedrooms, each with their own hallway with built-in mirrored closets, heart-of-oak parquet flooring and separate bathrooms and private outdoor deck. Also here is a laundry and a flag-stone floored gym with its own deck, shower, half bath, a sauna, a steam room and a large jacuzzi tub. Another storage room, a utility room housing the internal vacuum system, the water treatment plant and the heating system complete the accommodation on this floor.

Long Lake House
Long Lake House

By sheer coincidence, the property, is located next door to what has just become Kerry's second most expensive property - Tahilla Cove, which is also currently for sale at €1.95m. Successful euromillions players who fancy a larger 23-acres spread of coastal Kerry gold could spend €5m and bag the two.

Long Lake House

Long Lake House
Long Lake House

Sneem,

Co Kerry

Asking price: €3.25m

Agent: Sherry FitzGerald County Homes

(01) 2376300/Sherry FitzGerald Daly (064) 6641213

Long Lake House stairs
Long Lake House stairs

Indo Property

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