Mind, she found the Highlands a bit more accessible, but a visit to Balmoral by those familiar with Beauty’s Home would have a predictable response – it’s good, but not quite Killarney.
And by a long way round, this baronial, lakeside house at Dromin, Fossa is this week’s sale offering in the Kingdom.
A new build in one of its more exclusive residential areas, it’s located just beyond Hotel Europe, (which has had a multi-million makeover by owners, the Liebherr family,) overlooks the Reeks and has the vast expanse of Lough Leane on its doorstep, although it doesn’t have complete lake and mountain views.
But no matter, because this house has more than enough to tick a lot of boxes. This house is a hymn to quality craftsmanship.
It’s also subtly luxurious, but in a low-key, quality material way that’s really, well, baronial.
There is no palatial entrance hallway either, rather the opulent effect is left to the materials which include crafted teak double doors with matching curved skirting and the house’s one flourish, a circular statement staircase.
This solid teak creation, with inset carpeting and beveled glass balusters, travels upwards to a large, first floor room with glorious panelling overhead.
The vaulted, herringbone ceiling in cherry wood is saved from overkill by hand-painted panels in the centre which psychologically lifts the room, aided and abetted by double banks of wall and ceiling Velux windows.
This large living space is galleried over the entrance hallway and bookended by the circular staircase and the most extravagant library of walnut, cherry and elm covering a third of the room.
This, combined with the ceiling, the Ballydesmond stone fireplace off centre and the magnificent panelling on the rest of the walls, conjures up the feel of a hunting lodge.
All that’s missing is tartan carpeting, but no – it’s plaid because this is no pastiche Balmoral-alike; instead, it’s the cosiest and most womb-like room you could come across. A retreat.
Downstairs, the rest of the living space fans across the ground floor from east to west, starting with the kitchen/dining/living room which lies to the right of the staircase drum and turning into the more formal dining/living room.
All rooms face south over the large, electric green site towards the mountains and concertina doors lead out to a tastefully finished and planted patio. The rooms have a variety of flooring, from oak to maple to cherry to walnut, all in varying patterns.
Bedrooms run along the northern end of the ground floor, with two double rooms sharing a main bathroom and the master bedroom takes up the south-eastern segment of the house.
This is a big room with windows over the garden and it leads through to a large, four-piece bathroom with stand alone shower, (pressure is two-bar throughout the house) and large contemporary bath. Next door is a walk-in shelved and fitted wardrobe and then upstairs, there are two more double rooms, both of which could be called master bedrooms in their own right.
The remainder of the 4,500 square feet of the dwelling is taken up with a workroom/studio on the first floor, a huge utility on the ground floor, guest bathroom and storage space.
And then, there’s the final piece de resistance, an L-shaped garage with one small chunk given over to a gym and with a separate bathroom area.
According to Michael Coghlan of Sherry FitzGerald Coghlan, this would easily convert to self-contained accommodation and is fully insulated, wired and plumbed. It’s also full height, which means there’s an option to put in a mezzanine too, but the sheer size, at 1,500 square feet, puts it on a level with an average, detached property.
The guide price is also surprising – Michael Coghlan is asking €800,000 for the house, garage and 0.9 of an acre – well back from what it would have been three to four years ago.
Now, it’s a sublime, headache-free property with all the subtle bells and whistles, (it’s an electronic obstacle course) that buyers come to expect.
And considering the beauty of the location, the quality of the house, (the roof is expensive recycled slate) and the guide price, this is one not to be missed.