Cover story: Life’s a beach in large Whiting Bay house

Location: Ardmore, Waterford
Price: €625,000
Size: Sq m 288 (3,100 sq ft)
Bedrooms: 6 Bathrooms: 3
BER rating: NA
Best feature: Seaside setting; airiness

IT’S as well that this large home, by several sandy beaches, and by Ardmore, in west Waterford, has six bedrooms — because whoever is living here will never be short of opportunistic callers, and day-visitors who just happen to have a spare toothbrush in the car, ‘if, oh! thanks, there’s a bed for the night’?

The location’s the key to the wider appeal, of course, by Whiting Bay, and just a stone’s throw from the top of the landmark Ardmore Round Tower, but the house is no slouch, either.

Punching in at 3,100 sq ft, this is a big house in anyone’s book, either for holiday-home use or for full-time family occupation, and it’s not only large, in a big, U-shape, it’s high-end, too, with a bit of architectural flair, and lots of airy, double-height spaces.

Now for sale with Dungarvan agent, Denise Radley, it is priced at €625,000, which is well up the scale for second homes, though, of course, Ardmore gets buyers for both second and permanent/ retirement homes from Waterford, Cork, Tipperary and Dublin: the very top prices for houses sold in the past two years have hit c€500,000, and €1.25m for a spectacular, American ranch-style home right on the main beach, looking back across the bay to Ardmore.

Off to the west, and by Whiting Bay, and with direct access to Goat’s Island Beach, this house dates to 2006, and is architect-designed, with rooms laid out in separate wings in a U-shape, with corridor/walkways looking into this protected space, effectively an internal courtyard, ringed on three sides.

It’s ready to be pressed into dining service as soon as the sun glints through, though, depending on wind and weather, it’s either going to be a sun-trap, or a wind funnel.

Accommodation inside is all on the one level, and includes six bedrooms with two ensuites, utility, and corridors that are effectively rooms with sunny seating positions dotted along.

The other section is home to two double-height spaces, teeing into one another, with a lofty kitchen/dining room with triple aspect, and all focused on an extensively-glazed gable. The main living room, meanwhile, is even larger, and has a central chimney breast piercing the vaulted ceilings, with a cast-iron solid-fuel stove at its hearth.

The house has solar panels, giving free hot water from April to October, feeding into a 500-litre tank. There’s under-floor heating and a decent, C1 BER rating, and lots of passive solar gain from the many large windows. Central heating comes from a wood-pellet boiler.

Site size is one-third-of-an-acre, with main house and 400 sq ft garage, lawns and good parking, all with views down over the beach to the Celtic Sea — and coves to play in.

According to auctioneer Denise Radley, the setting’s quite ideal, especially for families with several beaches, for swimming, angling, adventure activities, golf, hill-walking, cycling and horse-riding.

And, just a mile or so over the headland, is the Round Tower, Ardmore’s icon and possibly as much as 1,000 years old, which forms part of a cliff-fringing, one-hour, dramatic scenic walk, past holy wells, look-out posts, ship wrecks and shelters.

Home to craft and pottery shops, restaurants, bars and the superior, Michelin-endorsed Cliff Top Hotel, Ardmore has a year-round population of 300, swelling to a thousand or two in summer, when holidays are in full swing. Anyone bidding now on this Ballinamona buy — being offered fully furnished at €625,000 — can be comfortably in for Easter and summer holidays, and it’s summed up by Ms Radley as “a little piece of heaven.”

Underlining how hard it is to get into this slice of Ardmore (or any other heaven), she adds that “there will not be planning permission granted for any other houses along this stretch of road, so it’s a once-off opportunity to secure a property of this design and finish.”

VERDICT: Big beach buy at Ballinamona.


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