Swiss gem on the Ring

BUILDING a home in Killarney was a bit like a busman’s holiday for Ursula and Josef Waldis - they simply swapped the Alps for the Reeks, and Lake Zurich for the Lakes of Killarney.

“We came over to visit a friend for a weekend, and stayed for three wet days. Our friend has a 2.5 acre site he was selling, we bought the bigger part of it and decided to stay,” says Ursula who simply says they fell in love with Killarney’s beauty.

At first, they used this Lahard, Beaufort Ring of Kerry home for holidays, and five years ago Josef retired from stock broking in Switzerland and they took up full time residence here. They fish, play golf, sculpt do pottery, paint, entertain - but don’t really go up in the mountains. “They’re a little bit small here,” says Ursula, diplomatically trying not to offend those who are challenged by this country’s tallest peaks, barely a walk in the park for a hardy Swiss couple.

Now, they are looking to trade down again to something smaller and easier to keep than a pristine 2,500 sq ft home on an acre and a half of landscaped gardens with large and deep pond (trout and koi are happy here) and a range of planting that includes 45 varieties of rhododendrons, azaleas, palms and camellias, while mature woodland gives extra shelter.

Their home is a dormer, but as you might suspect from Continental owners, there are a few atypical touches.

These hot touches include a wood-fuelled pizza oven in the conservatory, with oak wood burned for that authentic Italian taste, and there’s underfloor heating in this glazed pizzeria room for extra comfort (the place is cosy enough to grow grapes, so can Chateau Beaufort be far off?)

In the dining room, there’s an indoor BBQ fireplace, so again cooking while entertaining is not at all weather dependent.

And, in the main sitting room, the hearth is home to an imported fireplace which has air ducts circulating around and which blows warm air into the ground floor rooms to take an Irish chill out of the air when it’s not worth using the full underfloor heating capability.

Selling agent for this unique Beaufort home is Tanya Coyne of Coyne and Culloty in Killarney, six miles away, who gives it a €600,000 price guide and who expects interest from Kerry, Cork, nationally and overseas given its high specification.

“Opportunities to purchase remarkable and luxurious homes in the sought after Beaufort area of Killarney are far and few between, and tend to attract enormous interest when indeed they do arise,” she says.

The house is private and secure, with mountain views and proximity to the Gap of Dunloe, and there are several golf courses within easy reach, as the vendors can testify to.

Rooms include conservatory/pizzeria, dining room/grill room and sitting room, and all are good decent sizes of 250 to 350 sq ft each, hall, kitchen with light oak units and capacious built in seating, study and music room (or optional bedrooms).

There’s the option of three, four or five bedrooms, and the main bedroom with great mountain views has a large en suite, while the main bathroom has his and hers sinks, and there’s a walk-in hot-press.

An adjoining garage has 300 sq ft of space, has access from the house and is plumbed, with lots of storage space.

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