Sacré Bleu: 5,000 sq ft Ballina home is full of surprises

You could hold a wedding in this 5,000 sq ft Ballina home — in fact that’s what its owners did, writes Trish Dromey.

With panoramic views of Lough Derg, an unconventional layout, and space enough to hold quite a large wedding reception, Sacré Bleu near Ballina in Tipperary certainly has the capacity to surprise. The owners, Trish Taylor Thompson and her husband Gary, actually held their wedding in the front sitting room overlooking the lake.

“We had 60 seated guests for the ceremony and we invited another 60 later in the day,” says Trish, an artist and former Lyric FM presenter.

With a variety of terraces and verandas, several reception rooms and a total of 5,000 sq ft of accommodation, Sacré Bleu has ample space for this type of entertaining. Surprises in store for viewers include a large games room with a well-equipped bar, as well a small turreted room with high windows, which is now used as an artist’s studio.

The size and the layout of the property is exactly as it was when the couple found it in 2006, when Gary’s young son exclaimed ‘Sacré Bleu!’ — inadvertently giving it a new name.

The previous owner was a builder who started out with standard dormer bungalow in the early 2000s, but added extensions to make it considerably larger and a lot less conventional.

The current owners say they have done little other than change the colour schemes and do some work in the gardens. “We painted almost all the walls in the house Spotlight, a warm shade of pale grey — but used a rich shade of red in the dining room and the master bedroom.”

Built into the Arra hillside, the property has a large front sitting room with a high ceiling, marble flooring, five large windows, lake views, and, apparently, the capacity to seat 60 wedding guests.

Double doors lead through to a marble-floored dining room at the rear, which in turn opens into a bright, modern, 33ft-long kitchen with white painted units topped with granite worktops, a large centre island, porcelain slate flooring, and a glass atrium, as well as two large picture windows.

It’s in this part of the house that the layout gets a little more unconventional. Off the kitchen at one side, a large games room boasts a fully stocked bar tucked in neatly underneath a staircase that leads up to a roof garden. Decorated with animal heads made from recycled materials by a Welsh sculptor, the games room has a full-sized pool table in the middle.

“I played the last owner for it, but I think he left me win,” reveals Trish.

On the opposite side of the kitchen there is a door to a utility room and another to a porch, which leads through into a tower room with a domed ceiling and six high windows. According to Trish, the light and the lake views make this a perfect space for a studio.

Alongside the sitting room at the front is a bathroom with a Jacuzzi bath and three bedrooms, including two en suite. Decorated in deep red, the master bedroom also has his-and-hers walk-in wardrobes and views of Lough Derg. The upper floor has two further en suite bedrooms, as well as a large leisure/TV room. The space above the kitchen has been turned into a large roof terrace.

“The higher up you go, the more you can see. And from here you can see across to the hills of Clare and also the islands of Lough Derg, including Holy Island,’’ says Trish, adding that it’s a great place to watch boats sail by in the mornings, or sunsets in the evenings.

The site of over an acre includes a driveway and lawned gardens at the front as well as a terraced garden at the rear and an area of woodland. Sacré Bleu also has a large decked veranda at the front and a detached garage at the side.

Colour is provided by hydrangeas, fuchsia, cherry blossom trees and azaleas, as well as lavender and climbing roses. The daffodils have arrived in time for viewings, with bluebells expected soon.

Located at Loughtea, the property is 8km from Ballina/Killaloe and 35km from Limerick city.

Making plans to trade down to something smaller, the owners have now put Sacré Bleu on the market with a guide of €795,000. When they bought it in 2006, they paid €1.1m for it.

Describing Sacré Bleu as special, Cianan Duff of Savills says it is a unique and contemporary property with magnificent views and easy access to a host of local amenities including sailing and fishing on Lough Derg, which is likely to attract the attention of returning expats.

VERDICT: Full of surprises

Ballina, Co Tipperary

Price: €795,000

Soze: 465 sq m (5,000 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 5

Bathrooms: 6


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