Saturday 24 March 2018

Wexford home that housed Hollywood cast during the filming of ‘Saving Private Ryan’ on the market for €425k

Scenes for Hollywood war epic Saving Private Ryan filmed at Curracloe, writes Alison Gill

Longreef is a 3,000 sq ft property that was designed by the late architect Egon Winkens in 1975.
Longreef is a 3,000 sq ft property that was designed by the late architect Egon Winkens in 1975.

Alison Gill

In June 1997, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, and a host of other actors and crew, arrived in Curracloe, Co Wexford to film scenes for the Hollywood war epic Saving Private Ryan. The filming lasted two months, with the Irish Defence Forces supplying 2,500 men to act as extras. These scenes can be seen in the opening 20 minutes of the film, where they re-enacted the D-Day landings on Omaha Beach.

Accommodation around the area was so tight at the time that locals opened their doors and invited cast and crew to stay in their homes that summer. Longreef in Curracloe was one of the houses to provide lodgings to some crew members because it has its own self-contained apartment. The current owners aren't exactly sure of who it was that took up the offer, but you can be assured that this property comes with a little bit of showbiz attached.

Graham and Alison McCann bought the house in 2004 while they were living in Sydney. They came home to get married and fell in love with it instantly. When they returned to Ireland for good, Alison got a job in nearby Drinagh and Graham commuted to Tallaght. All of the furniture in the house was shipped over in a container from Australia. "The beds were from Harvey Norman before anyone in Ireland had even heard of the place," jokes Graham.

After the birth of their first child, Alison felt she wanted to be closer to her family in Howth. The McCanns relocated to Dublin but held onto the house for another six years and used it at weekends and school holidays.

A scene from Saving Private Ryan which was filmed at Curracloe.
A scene from Saving Private Ryan which was filmed at Curracloe.
Longreef sittng
Longreef snooker
Curracloe Beach
Longreef kitchen
Longreef balcony

Their decision to sell hasn't been an easy one. "It's breaking our hearts," says Graham. "We still absolutely love the house and the area but with work and family commitments, we just don't get to use it as much as we would like."

The House

Longreef is a 3,000 sq ft property that was designed by the late architect Egon Winkens in 1975. His design philosophies included open-plan living and building houses in harmony with the surrounding environment. His son has since taken over the running of the practice in Wexford, and still applies his father's ideas to their current designs.

The entrance hall is tiled and has a split-level staircase to the first floor and ground floor. Up the stairs you'll find an open living area, with the kitchen/dining room being your first point of call. The kitchen has fitted wall and floor units, a breakfast bar, a Whirlpool double oven, Touchtronic hob and a Miele dishwasher. There is a door from the kitchen out onto the terrace. This terrace wraps around the front of the property and has plenty of space for al fresco dining. A small scullery to the rear of the kitchen comes with shelving.

The living room is a large, double-aspect room with vaulted ceilings and a fireplace. The master bedroom is also on this floor and includes a shower room and a large fitted wardrobe.

There are three more bedrooms on the ground floor. One bedroom is currently being used as a games room and comes with a sauna. The family bathroom has a bath with a shower and a built-in storage press. There is also a utility room on this level that is fully plumbed, and the hallway has shelving and a press for additional storage.

The added bonus of this property is a self-contained one-bed apartment that includes a kitchen, living room, shower room and bedroom with a mezzanine above it. This would be ideal for extra guests or older children looking for a bit of independence, as it has its own entrance.

Outside, the gardens are very private. There is an area for a lawn tennis court, two loose boxes, a double garage and a store room.

The property has a mains water supply, a septic tank and oil-fired central heating.

The Locale

Longreef balcony
Longreef balcony
A scene from Saving Private Ryan which was filmed at Curracloe.
Longreef sittng
Longreef snooker
Curracloe Beach
Longreef kitchen

Curracloe is a seaside village, about 9kms north of Wexford town. The journey from south Dublin takes about an hour and a half on the M11. There are a few small shops and a hotel in Curracloe, but a drive into Wexford town would probably be necessary for supermarket and clothes shopping. There's a Tesco, Aldi, Lidl and Supervalu in Wexford, and also a good selection of craft shops and independent boutiques. But above all it's the beautiful beach that's the biggest attraction here.

What To Do

Ballinesker beach is the name of the strand at Curracloe. It's a short walk from the house, down a small lane. It's one of the most popular beaches in Wexford, so it can be difficult to find a secluded spot on a sunny day. The seven-mile long beach is guarded by large dunes and has Blue Flag certification.

Running parallel to the beach is Curracloe, or Raven, Forest. It's a forest of pines and evergreens. On days that might be a bit too cool for the beach, you'll find the forest full of walkers and joggers enjoying the trails and pathways that lead out onto the beach or up steep hills. The running trail is about 7km and is very popular with locals and tourists.

Wells House and Gardens is about 15 minutes from Curracloe by car and it's the kind of place you'll visit again and again. The house was built in the 1600s and is open for tours. There are woodland walks, Victorian terrace gardens, an adventure playground for the kids, archery, falconry and a very pleasant cafe with outdoor seating for sunny days. In the courtyard, there are little art and crafts shops and a recently opened art gallery.

For golfers, there's a parkland course in Wexford town with sea views and reasonable green fees.

Eating and Drinking

Your options in Curracloe are limited but the two local establishments are Da Paolo Italian restaurant, just yards from the beach in the Curracloe Holiday Villas resort and Hotel Curracloe, serving food in Blake Restaurant or the Tavern Bar.

Mini buses go in and out to Wexford from Curracloe in the high season and at weekends, so it's a good way to sample the nightlife on offer in the energetic town.

Cistín Eile is a small restaurant with an interesting menu of contemporary Irish food. It's always busy, so booking is recommended.

La Cote seafood restaurant is hot at the moment, with chef Paul Hynes and his partner Edwina receiving great reviews, and a few awards, in the past year.

For pubs, Con Mackens, off North Main Street, is renowned for its atmosphere, and Maggie May's bar is always a popular choice.

The Crowd

Like most beach towns in Wexford, the Dubs come in the hordes during the summer months to move into their holiday homes or mobiles. The place is buzzing with families and the beaches are packed. All this changes with the weather, and from September to April, Curracloe is very pleasant, with locals and a few visitors keeping the place going.

What's Not to Like

At €425,000, Longreef is very expensive for a second home. It may appeal to families that would like to invest in a property together and share their time there. With the apartment to the side, it would be big enough to accommodate two families at the same time.


Sandy Lane, Curracloe, Co Wexford

Asking price: €425,000

Agent: Kehoe & Associates (053) 9144393

Indo Property

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