How Glandore’s Violet Garden got the Green and Vernon touch — on the QT

Green Property’s Stephen Vernon has swooped on one of West Cork’s loveliest spots, he tells Tommy Barker.

TOP Irish and International property magnate Stephen Vernon of Green Property has made a West Cork swoop — but for his own pleasure.

Although the Green Property Portfolio company, which he chairs, has £2 billion in assets in Ireland and the UK (plus he has assembled a €700m war-chest in Green REIT plc investment trust), he’s just paid a more ‘modest’ €1.7m for a modernist, cliff-hugging private home in Glandore — built ten years ago by Dublin-born owner/architect Mary Donohoe, who has lived in New York, London, Dublin — and more recently, Glandore.

Over 20 years with Green Property, which is one of the largest players in the Irish market, and resident in Dublin for the past six years, Stephen Vernon had spotted ‘Violet Garden’ from land and from sea — as a keen sailor he has crewed in the local Calves Week, winning its Fastnet challenge, and so Glandore’s going to fit his love of the sea like a sou’wester.

“If Ireland has a Riviera, it’s West Cork. And, if there’s a St Tropez in West Cork it’s Glandore, and I think I’ve just bought the nicest house and setting in Glandore,” he told the Irish Examiner this week.

Glandore has enjoyed that sort of cachet for decades, with individual house sales of up to €4m to its credit in recent years, while distressed Tony O’Reilly’s private Glandore six-acre estate Shorecliffe was recently sold for c €1.5m, to meet bank debts.

Stephen Vernon’s house hunt coincided with Dublin-born architect Mary Donohoe’s decision to put her own world-class private Glandore home, ‘Violet Garden’, quietly for sale with Skibbereen-based auctioneers Charles McCarthy and Maeve McCarthy, who’ve scored all the local record house prices. The agents say the latest sale “is a huge vote of approval for West Cork, and for Glandore.”

Contemporary to its fingertips, but restrained none the less and barely raising an eyebrow when seen from the road winding through Glandore village, ‘Violet Garden’ is right next door to another comparable modern home Bar na Don, sold by Carol Vorderman and UK media exec Des Kelly in 2006 for €2.5m after they’d used it as an Irish bolt-hole for a several years. The 4,000 sq ft two-level, ‘upside-down’ home designed by Mary Donoghue is full of low-key luxury, and all rooms were positioned for bay and ocean views, out over Adam and Eve islands and back towards Union Hall, while its terraced gardens slalom down to a private pier and bathing spot at the water’s edge.

VERDICT: Built by a pro, bought by a pro.


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