Scenic stunner’s attractions are set in stone

This stylish home in Aghadoe, outside Killarney, is finished to a five-star standard with space aplenty, sympathetic landscaping — and a National Park on the doorstep, writes Tommy Barker.

EVEN non-Killarneyites will have a mental image of Kerry’s Aghadoe — they’ll probably think of a certain five-star hotel, or at the very least a five-star setting, with lake views, and town proximity.

Well, this large, modern and recently-built Killarney property isn’t quite in the hotel size stakes — but it’s big in anyone else’s book for a home; big, and well-built and finished.

A spring market arrival in a niche, gated secure setting a mile and a bit from the town, it’s about the closest place you can get to live to the town centre with lake views, especially at such a low density of settlement.

So says estate agent Michael Coghlan of Sherry FitzGerald Coghlan, endorsing the exclusivity of the location here at Farraneaspig, Aghadoe, also within a short downhill trot of Killarney’s National Park, by the start of the Ring of Kerry.

There are just four houses here in this niche, which is highly prized by local business families, says the agent approvingly.

So, stellar setting and location, for starters, with views down over Ballydowney to Lough Leane, Innisfallen Island and Abbey, and the Reeks rising up beyond. Behind these few houses, landscaped gardens meld into a backdrop of gorse and ferney hills.

Now, to the low-slung house itself: architect/engineer designed, it was built in the mid to late 2000s, on a sloping half-acre site, extensively landscaped, with the T-shaped house and integrated double garage taking up much of the flat section of the site — so don’t expect lots of flat lawns here. Instead, lots of planting has gone in, designed to take care of itself for the vast majority of the year, and it runs up right to the house itself, helping to bed it down into its scenic setting. The amount of stone in the facade fulfils the same camouflaging function.

Rooms are large, for the most part, and quite open plan, and most of the accommodation is on the expansive ground level, with a spiral stairs with stainless steel fittings winding up to two first-floor bedrooms, one of which is en suite.

There are two large reception rooms — try 36’ by 25’ for size in one case, with a white marble fireplace - with south-facing windows and French doors in Nordic pine out to the gardens. Lighting is recessed — as it is in most part of the house. The second, oak-floored sitting room has an ornate, carved white marble fireplace, and corner glazing, with French doors in their midst.

Scene-stealer in this house is the hall, running from curtain-swagged front door to the glistening, art-installation-like spiral staircase with its dark-stained wood treads contrasting with glistening steel.

Several of the rooms off the hall/corridor have unusual splayed angles at corners, making for a slightly funky, non-standard box shape, enhanced in one case by a glass block wall in cobalt blue and clear blocks. One of the two reception rooms is open, via an arch, to the hall, corridor and feature staircase, making it in effect an extension of the hall, and vice versa.

Meanwhile, glazed double doors go from this family room back to the large kitchen/dining room, with kitchen units in rich-hued chestnut. Other materials include black granite worktops, and brushed steel kick-plates to pick up on the steel unit handles. The units include a breakfast bar divider, separating the creamy tiled cooking space from the oak-floored dining room, with yet another set of French doors the gardens, and a deep bay window, dressed like so many other rooms here with roller blinds on individual windows, softened then by steel curtain rails and tall drops of rail-to-floor curtains.

Two of this house’s five bedrooms (one with shower room en suite) are up at roof level, with Velux windows only to the rear, overlooking the pea-gravel courtyard drive, where cars pull up and turn after wending their way up the sloping avenue.

A large, two-car garage is linked to the L-shaped rear of the house, creating a nice sense of enclosure, and again there’s lots of landscaping, with planting running up close to the back walls to soften the look and to successfully green it in.

There are three ground floor bedrooms, one next to a shower room, and the large master bedroom is carpeted, but with the space around the bed unusually demarcated in contrasting timber — so you’ll miss the wool carpet feel underfoot when hopping out of bed. This room, to the front of the house between two living rooms, has three windows to get the most of the views, and has a wall of built-ins plus an en suite wet room.

The main bathroom, meanwhile, has its own individuality, with a bells and whistles Jacuzzi bath with display screen, tiled floor and a wall of built-ins, and a wet room shower enclosure set into the units, screened by glass doors, handy to cut down on splashing and water-spills.

Other rooms in this 6,000 sq ft home include a utility, and a games room, so there’s really space for everyone, and every function plus fun, says agent Michael Coghlan.

He guides this market arrival at €700,000, and notes that it would have made considerably more if offered even a few years ago: site value alone, even today, would be in the €250,000 region, for its half acre-plus plot, and at a basic build cost of €75 per square foot you’re already up to the €700k level with site cost, not to mind the extra cost of landscaping, finishes and above standard features, such as the Nordic pine glazing, limestone cills and the sheer amount of work in finishing all the front of the house in locally-quarried O’Connors stone.

VERDICT: It is one of the very closest elevated sites with classic mountain and lake views in Killarney, and will be seen as a bit of a trophy buy.


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