Trish Dromey paints a picture of an artist’s residence on the Dingle Peninsula that is suffused with old charm.
Looking east towards Mount Eagle at the front, and south west to the Blaskets at the rear, this old stone property in Dunquin is perfectly situated for an artist’s cottage.
The current artist in residence is Claire Nagle, a printmaker who has exhibited nationally and internationally and who, for several years, ran the Blasket Islands Art School, which offered art tuition in the summer.
Built around the start of the last century, the cottage has been owned by Ms Nagle since the 1980s. She purchased it from a descendant of the Garvey family. She believes the Garveys lived on the site for a few hundred years. “The last owner was the seventh son to own the land. After he died, his niece rented and later sold the cottage to me, saying I suited it.”
Ms Nagle, a native of Cork who spent over 20 years in New York, returned to Ireland in the 1980s and went on to graduate from Cork’s Crawford Art Gallery when she was 60, embarking on a new career in Ireland’s most westerly village.
When she bought the cottage, it had already been somewhat modernised and Ms Nagle added some more modern touches, making sure that all was in keeping with the traditional character and charm.
This included putting in a stove and timber flooring in the sitting room, adding a sunroom at the back to take the views, and changing the layout to move the kitchen. She also put in double-glazed windows.
She then converted an attached stone building into a separate three-bedroomed house. This involved raising the height to create a second storey and putting in a roof with Velux windows. Ms Nagle says this building is probably over 200 years old and was where the Garvey family originally lived, before building a two-storey cottage on to it at the turn of 19th Century.
Now a miniature version of the more recent cottage, it has been used as a B&B and has a living room/kitchen with exposed stone walls and timber flooring and ceiling as well as a bathroom and three bedrooms.
The final step was the conversion of outbuildings at the rear into an art studio. A long stone shed, where the last of the Garveys kept his horse, has now become a 300 sq ft studio with timber flooring and oil-fired central heating.
“From the front of the studio you have a panoramic view of the coast and the Blaskets and, on a clear, sunny day, you can see across to the Skellig Rock in the distance,” says Ms Nagle.
Inside both cottages, everything is very traditional, from exposed stone walls, to timber-panelled ceiling and the open-tread staircase to the small kitchen area with open shelving and check curtains in front of the sink. The larger cottage is heated by a stove and electric heaters, while the renovated cottage has oil central heating. Ms Nagle says the F energy rating doesn’t reflect the fact that the thick stonewalls keep the house cozy in winter and cool in the summer.
Set on a site of close to three-quarters of an acre, the property has five gardens. Out front, there’s a green area with lilies and, by the studio, there’s a patio and a pond. There’s a fruit garden with gooseberries and a pear tree, as well as a small vegetable garden.
The cottage is situated at Ceithrú, Ferriter’s Quarter, within a short walk from the Blasket Island Heritage Centre and Krugers, Ireland’s most Westerly pub, and is approximately 14 miles from Dingle.
Ms Nagle is now reluctantly contemplating abandoning the rugged beauty of the Dingle peninsula and retiring to sunny Florida. On the market with John Diony O’Connor auctioneers, the property is guiding at €350,000.
“The location at the very Western tip of the Dingle Peninsula and the stunning views of the Blaskets means this property has very good rental potential. It has wonderful charm and character.”
Dunquin, Co Kerry €350,000
Size: 120 sq m (1,300 sq ft)
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