Video: Stunning thatched home on the Ring of Kerry could be yours for €2.75m
Home on six acres has direct access to the Ring of Kerry
At 930 square metres, or almost a quarter of an acre, the thatched roof at Shearwater in Templenoe in Kenmare is the largest to be found on any private residence in Ireland.
Munster Thatching Services, the company headed by Richard O'Loideoin and which carried out this remarkable feat of thatching five years ago, used seven professional thatchers and two labourers working flat out for 12 weeks.
The reeds sourced from the Akeshir region of Turkey arrived to Kenmare in five shipping containers 45ft long. In all, the job used 11,000 bundles while 6,000 hazel rods (scallops) were required in the ridges of the thatching work.
Veronica Blennerhassett who has lived in this most unusual house for the past five years says: "For me the special part of the construction was watching this extraordinary ancient art unfold before my eyes. They worked in complete unity in a silent slow rhythm, all completely and absolutely focused and absorbed."
O'Loideoin adds: "This roof will last for 25 years and I can't think of any home with a bigger thatch in Ireland. You'll be unlikely to see anything like this again."
When Veronica and her husband Rowland were planning their dream home back in 2008, they decided they wanted something different but which fitted seamlessly with the world famous Kerry landscape and this unique site which faces into the Atlantic.
Rowland adds: "We looked at traditional slates and then we discovered that it would cost pretty much the same to have it thatched. Thatch would look great, it would be something altogether different but thatch also has another advantage - it's a great insulator.
"This house has a B2 BER rating only because we have chosen to go with a number of open fireplaces inside. Otherwise it would be an A. It stays warm in winter and cool in the summer."
There's another benefit, as their lead thatcher explains: "Two years ago when storms ripped through this area and levelled the forestry all around here, I called out to check the roof.
"I took a few minutes to arrange a small piece of thatch which had become unlevelled. Otherwise it was perfect. Because it's porous, thatch allows the wind flow to pass through it so the wind can't get under to generate the level of lift which causes tiles to fly off regular roofs in high gales."
The Blennerhassetts' home has been designed by the architectural practice of Maxwell Pierce from Enniskillen who rolled with the thatch to the degree that the house even has a series of 'eyebrow' windows, more commonly found in 200-year-old thatch roof cottages.
Inside, the stairs, kitchen and much of the furniture is handmade by Philippe Hetier. The views from the main rooms of the house are spectacular, with three covered balconies adjoining three of the bedrooms upstairs. Each room enjoys views of Kenmare Bay.
The walls are constructed with additional insulation, there's Geo thermal underfloor heating, an oil-fired Aga, three open fireplaces on the ground floor, CAT 5 wiring, 2.6m high ceilings, long plank oak floors and outside, on the 6.25ac site there's an adjoining thatched garage with two garden rooms and a bathroom.
The ground floor has an entrance hall, an open-plan kitchen/dining room and family room, a formal dining room, a drawing room, a study and four bedrooms with a truly enormous suite off the master chamber.
"The only thing is that now our children have all grown up and flown the nest. So it's a little big for just the two of us," said Rowland when asked why the couple are now selling up their truly unique and modern thatched abode, for €2.75m.
See the slideshow of the property on www.independent.ie/life/home-garden
Asking price: €2.75m
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald (01) 6399300 and Sherry FitzGerald Daly (064) 6641213