Peek inside this mammoth €1.6m Connemara home with its own bespoke cinema
The purpose-built home cinema is just one of the attractions of this 8,415 sq ft mansion on the market for €1.6m
Home cinema: you either love it or hate it. There are those who believe that the whole point of going to the pictures is to share the experience with strangers in a dark auditorium, even if those strangers are snogging or eating vinegary chips or shouting with laughter at obvious jokes.
And then there are those who believe the whole point of watching films at home instead is to avoid the sheer, noisy, smelly unpleasantness of strangers altogether.
Whichever school of thought you subscribe to you will probably agree that most home cinemas are not worthy of the name in any case. A large screen combined with an elaborate sound system in the living room might be all you can afford, but it does not a home cinema make. You can't create a theatrical atmosphere in the same room where you watch the weather forecast.
To be worthy of the name, a home cinema has to be a separate place - one you visit only when you want to be transported to another world by film.
The owners of an immense detached house in Barna, outside Galway city, clearly felt that way. They built a dedicated room for their cinema, and they went all-out fitting and furnishing it. There's an art deco-style ceiling and a soft carpet with rows of squashy armchairs in red leather lined up before a curtained big screen. The armchairs are fitted with drinks holders, and as you're in your own home, you can pop a schooner of Cointreau in there and settle in to revisit Casablanca.
All this home cinema is lacking really is an old lady providing a vigorous piano soundtrack to a silent movie, but perhaps even that could be arranged.
The property was finished about a decade ago, and its mammoth scale made for an ambitious planning and building project. It measures a massive 8,415 sq ft in a complicated floor plan, comprising a clutch of two-storey structures and single-storey links surrounding a sunny, southwest-facing central courtyard. The marble-floored entrance hall has one of the two staircases, fashioned in marble and with a cast-iron handrail. There's a reception room either side of the hall. To the left is a dual-aspect sitting room overlooking the front and side of the house, with a parquet floor and a marble fireplace. To the right is a family room, also dual-aspect and with a wood floor, and off the room to the front (and the south) is a conservatory.
Double folding doors lead from the family room into the kitchen and dining room - a single-storey room where there's a vaulted ceiling with exposed beams. The kitchen is fitted with solid-wood cabinets and marble countertops, and has a centre island with a breakfast bar. This room is dual-aspect and has sliding doors to the courtyard, where there's a deck and a pond.
Towards the back of the house, you reach a second hallway with a double-height ceiling showing a mezzanine landing above, and a glass wall overlooking the courtyard. Off this hallway is the cinema and an office.
This area of the house also has one of the six bedrooms - a ground-floor guest room with a walk-in wardrobe and ensuite with a double shower. The mezzanine level is reached from the second staircase, made of solid wood.
There are two more bedrooms here, both with ensuites. The remaining three bedrooms are above the sitting room and family room. The master bedroom is one of these, and has a walk-in wardrobe and an ensuite. The other two bedrooms on this level share an ensuite.
The house stands on three acres. There are terraced lawns, meandering pathways, flowerbeds and trees. And with geothermal heating, there's a B1 energy rating.
The house is about 1.5km northeast of Barna, 9km from Eyre Square. Barna is a Gaeltacht village on the edge of Connemara. In recent decades though, Galway city has been spreading out to meet it, and if the proposed Galway ring road goes ahead, the new bypass will begin just west of Barna.
It will make getting to the pictures much easier if you do decide to venture out.
Barna, Co Galway
Asking price: €1.6m
Agent: O'Donnellan & Joyce (091) 564 212.