'Wow' views over Lough Derg makes this Clare home a dream
Built to enjoy the 'wow' views, this home has plenty of room for guests, writes Alison Gill
An eagle eye will be required by the new owners of the house at Bealkelly which overlooks Lough Derg, in Co Clare.
Back in 2012, a pair of white-tailed sea eagles made Bushy Island on Lough Derg their home. In the last days of April 2013, two chicks hatched on the island, making them the first to successfully fledge in the wild in Ireland for over 110 years. In 2014, the breeding pair had one female chick, and another in 2015. This is all part of a reintroduction programme for the eagles to Ireland.
The white-tailed predators were once a familiar sight in this country, with skeletal remains found in ancient sites in many counties. They became extinct in the early 1900s, with the golden eagle disappearing soon after. The largest population of the birds is currently found along the Norwegian coastline, which is where the reintroduction programme began in 2012. The birds were collected as chicks on the island of Froya in Norway by the Golden Eagle Trust, and released in Killarney National Park, before relocating to Lough Derg.
The eagles have become a huge attraction in Mountshannon, with visitors queuing to get a look at these magnificent birds. It's the lucky local with lake views, who can keep an eye out the window for a glimpse of the aviators from the comfort of their own home.
Such locals were Terry and Mike Mulvihill, who knew they were on to a good thing when they came upon a site in Ogonnelloe, Co Clare with views over Lough Derg. It was 2001, before the arrival of the eagles, when the couple came from the east coast to settle down in the west. "It was love at first sight," says Terry. "We had been house-hunting in the area and just knew we had to build on that spot as soon as we saw it."
The house was built with a huge emphasis on the rear of the property because that is where the 'wow' landscape below can be best admired. "It's a very bright house that is great for entertaining," says Terry. "It will be hard to leave it, but it's just too big for us now. All I can say is that it's a home that is good for the soul. We will definitely be staying in the area though. Everyone was so welcoming when we moved here. We've made great friends and love the fact that there is always something going on in the community."
Built in 2001, the house has been well-maintained, and new owners would get away with just a bit of redecorating and maybe a new kitchen. It would make a good holiday, or weekend, home because there is plenty of room for extra guests in the five-bed house. All bedrooms have en-suite bathrooms, with a large bedroom on the ground floor that would be ideal for an elderly relative.
The entrance hall has a solid maple floor, which continues through most of the rest of the house. The large wooden staircase sits in the centre of the hall, with a sitting room to the right, and the aforementioned bedroom to the left. At the back of the house the kitchen, dining room and lounge all lead into each other. The dining room is a circular room with five windows looking out to the lake.
The kitchen has a Stanley fuel range, fitted units with a Belling double oven and electric hob. Double doors lead out to a patio area. There is an L-shaped utility off the kitchen with sink and storage.
The lounge has a solid fuel stove and doors out to the gardens. The sitting room, at the front of the house, has fitted bookshelves, and there is also a bathroom on this level.
The en-suites in the four upstairs bedrooms all have showers, and the master bedroom has a walk-in wardrobe. There's a study upstairs in the dome above the dining room, which probably has the best views in the house.
It sits on nearly one acre of well-maintained and mature gardens. There is a workshop to the side that is set out in three sections, with attic storage. Water comes from an on-site private well and there is a septic tank.
Ogonnelloe is a small village between Scariff and Killaloe in east Clare. Most of the parish lies in a valley, with high hills in the background. The area became very popular with retirees and rat race dodgers in the Celtic Tiger days. Ireland's best known lottery winner Dolores McNamara, spent €1.7m of her €115m jackpot on Lough Derg Hall - a mansion on 38 acres in Ogonnelloe. Killaloe and its many independent shops and facilities is 8km away but for larger supermarkets, Limerick is about a half-hour drive and has Tesco, Dunnes, Aldi and Lidl. Shannon Airport can be reached in 45 minutes and Dublin is now only about two hours away on the M7.
What To Do
The lake is the main attraction in this part of Clare and you can see why when you look at the amount of bustle around it. The UL Activity Centre on the road from Ogonnelloe to Killaloe sits on the shores of Lough Derg and caters for individuals, schools, team-building days or stag and hen parties. You can choose from canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, archery and more. Some people are so impressed with the centre that they come to Clare for their holidays so that their children can take part in UL's summer camps.
If you don't like organised sports, beside the activity centre is Twomilegate lakeside amenity park, where swimmers have a safe place to bathe with a good picnic area and walking trails in the woods.
If you want to get to know the locals, the East Clare Community Co-op down the road in Scarrif welcomes everyone in the locality, where you can take part in courses, help out in the garden or just sit down and chat with like-minded people in the cafe.
Eating and drinking
Killaloe has a great choice of pubs, restaurants and cafes. Gooser's and The Wooden Spoon are worth a visit, or for special occasions, the award-winning Cherry Tree restaurant on the waterfront, is sure to please.
Closer to home, The Piper's Inn in Ogonnelloe doesn't look like much from the outside, but inside is a cosy gastropub with a good menu and a snug for those who just want a drink.
Nuala's further up the road in Tuamgraney, a traditional Irish pub that serves food all day, is another good option.
East Clare, a bit like West Cork, has a great mix of locals, ex-pats and blow-ins from Ireland and Europe. The Steiner School in Raheen, which is only two kilometres from the property, attracts people from all over the world who are looking for an alternative to mainstream education for their children. Locals are passionate about a slower pace of life and cleaner living, so if you're coming from the city, let the sense of calm seep in on the drive down.
What's Not To Like
The gardens around the property look lovely at the moment, but if you're only spending weekends and holidays at the house, you would have to be willing to put plenty of time aside to tend to the vast shrubs and flowers or it could quickly become overgrown and overrun with weeds. In winter it can be wild in the west.
Ogonnelloe, Co Clare
Asking price: €425,000
Agent: Green Valley Properties (061) 921498