Trish Dromey gives a thumbs up to this surprisingly spacious renovated farmhouse near Bell Harbour in Co Clare.
Bell Harbour, Co Clare €320,000
Size: 176 sq m (1,900 sq ft)
Best feature: The limestone Burren is on the doorstep, and there is charm within with its old stone walls
The rugged limestone landscape of Turlough Hill provides quite a dramatic backdrop for this renovated farmhouse near Bell Harbour in the heart of the Burren.
It is highly probable that the original owners who built it in the 1800s were more concerned with shelter than scenery, but they chose a fairly spectacular setting.
Set against the rocky grey hill, the property looks out on to lush green fields, the rolling hills of the Burren and across the valley to the ruins of a monastic settlement.
In the distance, are views across Bell Harbour, Galway Bay and Connemara.
The cottage-like appearance of Abbey View is quite misleading because it’s actually a three bedroom property with a substantial 1,900 sq ft of living space.
An attic conversion by an American couple, who used it as a holiday home for 20 years, resulted in the addition of two bedrooms, a sitting room and a bathroom on the first floor.
The major share of the renovation work was done by the Americans, but the Irish owner, who bought at the height of the boom in 2007, also made a few alterations.
He put in a new stairs with walnut steps, replaced the kitchen and added a second solid fuel stove and a few extra Velux windows to let in more light.
The large 20 by 19 ft living/dining room at the front is quite surprising for a property which looks like a traditional cottage on the outside — it’s timber floored, has an elaborate candelabra style light fitting, period furniture and a fireplace with a stove.
The kitchen at the rear has cream units with a Belfast sink as well as a huge open fireplace fitted with a stove.
At one side of the property there’s also a bathroom and a bedroom.
At the top of the stairs is a large carpeted open plan space with French style furniture which is used as a second sitting room.
At this level there’s also a bathroom and two more bedrooms.
Traditionally built, Abbey View has stonewalls which are over three feet thick and a substantial chimney breast which can be seen, painted but unplastered, in some of the upstairs rooms.
Fitted with two stoves in addition to oil heating, the property still has the single glazed windows put in by the Americans.
It’s F energy rating is something which new owners are likely to address.
On a site of three quarters of an acre, the farmhouse has an enclosed garden at the rear with apple and pear trees and some old stone outhouses and also has fields at the front and side.
The attractions of the Burren are all around.
Turlough Hill, behind the house, is a popular climb for walkers, home to some wild goats and has, at its summit, the ruins of an Iron Age hill fort.
The property gets its name from the views across the valley of the ruins of Corcomroe Abbey, which was settled by monks in the 10th Century.
Visitors come to the area to climb hills and walk, admire the flora, the fauna and the scenery and also to gaze at the stars in a place where there is a low level of light pollution at night.
The old farmhouse is located 1.5 km from the tiny village of Bell Harbour, which has a shop and a pub, and is also within a 10-minute drive from Ballyvaughan and Kinvara.
Quoting a guide price of €320,000, selling agents Sherry FitzGerald McMahon say Abbey View is in a wonderful location for a holiday home and is being looked at by some overseas buyers.
Auctioneer Diarmuid McMahon describes it as being highly scenic with great character “ It’s nicely renovated, surprisingly spacious and is picturesque and private without being remote.”
Verdict: Spacious, secluded and scenic
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