By Tommy Barker
AN ENTIRE holiday home complex under the Caha mountains, on 10 waterfronting acres next door to movie maker and writer Neil Jordan’s West Cork hideaway, has come for sale, trading exceptionally well thanks to new management and the boost of the Wild Atlantic Way.
Freshly listed at €3.5m with estate agent Dominic Daly is the Berehaven Lodge holiday village, comprising 15 three-bed detached houses, operating under Bord Fáilte four-star standards, a one-bed “honeymoon suite” house, and a 4,000sq ft function room/restaurant, which is currently let out and is very highly regarded, under Irish/South African management.
There’s also planning permission for 10 holiday pods on a land portion on the western end of the exceptionally scenic and wooded site at Cappaghavuckee, Waterfall, about three miles on the Glengarriff side of bustling port Castletownbere.
In addition, the mix has a heli-pad, a private pier/jetty, admin office, plus a heavy duty laundry facility with additional income stream from other Castletownbere guest accommodation, B&Bs etc.
The project, completed in the mid 2000s by Coolfadda Developments, has a long and engaging history, on the site of a much earlier business, called the Wheel Lodge, set up in the 1960s.
Now, called the Berehaven Lodge, the more modest-sized 15-house-based holiday investment is being sold on for business owners, Fast Fish Ltd, whose company and individual directors' interests span trawlers, fish processing and merchandising. Fast Fish's MD Dónal Kelly said they acquired it in 2015.
Fast Fish Ltd also owns the Beara Coast Hotel at Cametringane Point, at the heart of Castletownbere, overlooking the harbour and its new, expanding pier and fish processing facilities.
That revamped and reinvigorated Beara Coast Hotel and function centre is awaiting local services upgrades before being allowed to add extra bedrooms.
It’s all part of a rising tide of tourism-driven activity once more for the local community on Ireland’s peninsulas extremities, aided and abetted by the success of the Wild Atlantic Bay.
And, not only is the port getting a significant upgrade, but the country’s only cable car attraction, linking the mainland to Dursey Island, is about to get a new and larger, multi-million cable car upgrade in a c €7m investment. Two suspended 12-person cars are due to replace the sole, single long established one which, famously, has also ferried livestock to and from Dursey Island.
Meanwhile, the development that is the Berehaven Lodge holiday complex is now well grounded, on 10 exceptionally well maintained acres and long, indented shoreline section looking across the bay and out toward Bere Island, reached by two ferries.
It was acquired, for an undisclosed sum, in 2015 by local Beara business Fast Fish Ltd, having been on the market for receivers KPMG acting for ACC in 2010, trading as Whelwyn Lodge, at an undisclosed asking price but loosely guided at €2m-€2.5m in 2010.
Its original developers, Bandon-based Coolfadda (which primarily developed in Cork and Kenmare, Co Kerry) had gone under in the late 2000s, with debts of €30m to ACC, Bank of Scotland and Bank of Ireland.
Briefly marketed as Radharc an t-Aigean in 2007 by Coolfadda, at that stage, it had been developed at a reported cost of €7m.
Back then, the 15 completed three-bed lodges were offered to investors in the mid-2000s, at €650,000 each.
They carried the lure of tax breaks indicative of the gung-ho ‘incentives’ of the Celtic Tiger era, including 46% of purchase price against all Irish rental income, ‘guaranteed’ rental income of €28,500 pa, and construction allowances which could be written off over 10 years of ownership.
That tide of ‘optimism’ went to a low ebb after the economic implosion of 2007 and 2008, as values plummeted: the peninsula’s five-star Dunboy Castle dream also dipped, although the original Puxley family manion/ruin was physically secured after a multi-million euro spend.
Since, other once-closed hotels have bounced back, including the Beara Coast Hotel; fishing is still hugely lucrative, and the Wild Atlantic Way has underpinned the tourism sector, and businesses like the Berehaven Lodge development.
Estate agent Dominic Daly, based in Cork city, is now selling for Fast Fish Ltd and he guides the entire investment at €3.5m, aiming to sell in one lot, despite the expectation of buyer interest in individual lodges, given their high quality and spotless condition, on manicured grounds.
It has an undisclosed income stream, from very strong lodge and honeymoon suite rentals (the complex is reportedly doing weddings for up to 120 guests), restaurant/function rental income from current operators, and even has a professional laundry income.
Mr Daly describes the property as a gem on the beautiful Beara peninsula, with ultra-comfortable accommodation, and further potential, eg from delivering 10 or more additional one-bed holiday ‘pods’.
DETAILS: Dominic Daly & Co 021-4277399
This story was amended on 19 November 2018.