Stunning sights and Scandi design in Kenmare for €335k
Skehanagh Castlecove, Co Kerry €335,000
There's an area around Kenmare, in Co Kerry, where there are so many Dutch settlers that, according to the vendor of Skehanagh,
Harrie Somers (a Dutchman himself), the locals call it the "Dutch mountains". In fact, Somers said his sister moved there in the 1970s "as a hippy" and has never left.
Harrie and his wife Jeanine were looking for somewhere to buy in their native Holland when they visited his sister. "It was so beautiful," he recalled. "We decided within a week to buy here instead."
The couple chose to buy a site with planning permission for a bungalow in Skehanagh valley on the Iveragh Peninsula. It's a beautiful spot in the little village of Castlecove, on the main Ring of Kerry route, with fine views of the MacGillycuddy's Reeks and just a short distance from five good beaches.
They tinkered with the plans to add enough space for a bathroom and guest room upstairs and to make it more contemporary in style. The pair lived on-site in a mobile home "with a small doggie and a little kitten" for 18 months to supervise proceedings while the house was being built.
They moved into their new home in 2005. It is a deceptively compact, sturdy, four-bedroomed house with large picture windows making the most of the views to the front and back. An artist and photographer, Harrie designed the interior "so that I made every square millimetre efficient. It's a handy house".
There is an open-plan kitchen/dining/living room on the ground floor that Harrie called "Swedish" in style. It's light and has white-washed beams and French windows that open out from the dining area on to a paved patio.
There are larch floors in the sitting and dining areas and stone flags in the kitchen with underfloor heating. The master bedroom is on the ground floor and its en suite also has underfloor heating.
There is a utility room, an essential in the country for mucky walking boots and swimming gear, and it gives access to the cellar. Three of the four bedrooms are also on the ground floor, making Skehanagh a good property for downsizers or those with young children.
One bedroom is currently in use as an office, the master bedroom has a good-sized en suite, there's also a shower room, guest WC and, upstairs, a large guest bedroom and en suite and the boon of ample storage. It comes with a BER of B3.
The house sits on 0.755 acres of gardens that are in lawns and planting. This is Jeanine's preserve and, as Harrie said, laughing: "It is not a perfect garden, it is rough like its surroundings." It spills down over the hillside with its sunny patio, plenty of parking for two or three cars, and a swing for their five grandchildren.
Harrie, who is now 79, and Jeanine are selling up to move back to Holland. "I miss my grandchildren," he said.
Skehanagh would make an ideal holiday home or a permanent home for downsizers. It has the advantage of being situated in some of Ireland's most stunning landscape, but also has access to a grocery store and pub in the village of Castlecove.
There is plenty to keep the potential holidaymaker occupied. White Strand, one of the many fine beaches nearby, is just a few minutes' walk away. "It is almost a private strand," said Harrie. "It is only used by the locals."
The house is also close to the Kerry Way, the 214km circular walking trail that starts and ends in Killarney - a route that Harrie walked in December with his youngest son. "It was very beautiful, muddy and wet," he said.
Sneem is the nearest town, 14km away, while Kenmare is 40km away and Cahersiveen is 40km to the north. For day trips, there is plenty to do away from the hills and the beaches, including Derrynane House and National Park, the former home of Daniel O'Connell, the Kerry Bog Village Museum, and, for the adventurous, a boat ride out to the jaw-dropping Skellig islands.
Size: 195 sqm
Agent: DNG Timothy O'Sullivan (064) 664 1566
Viewing: Strictly by appointment