The West Cork island that links Radiohead, Google and a sex doctor

Bridge-accessed scenic Reengaroga Island has found favour with Radiohead tour manager and artist Brian Ormond, Google MD Ronan Harris and sex doctor Andrew Stanway: so, who's next?
The West Cork island that links Radiohead, Google and a sex doctor

Views towards Baltimore and Roaringwater Bay from  Turquoise House on West Cork's bridge-accessed Reengaroga Island

Reengaroga Island Roaringwater Bay, West Cork



227 q m (2,443 sq ft)







YOU’D better be prepared to show the colour of your money if you go to view this West Cork island home . . . not only is it bursting with vibrant hues, living up to its name of Turquoise House, but the location seems to be something of a property hot-spot too.

Hit the decks at Turquoise House Reengaroga Island
Hit the decks at Turquoise House Reengaroga Island

Apart from luring the likes of Google boss Ronan Harris, the MD and VP of €120bn corporate giant Google UK and Ireland, to buy a holiday home on the island, it’s also been a favoured spot for wealthy musicians, business moguls, castle-owning property developers and, best known of all, author and sex therapist Dr Andrew Stanway, who penned The Lovers Guide series about 25 years ago, among his 40+ publications.

Google Earth? Ronan Harris, head of Google UK and Ireland found a holiday base on the island
Google Earth? Ronan Harris, head of Google UK and Ireland found a holiday base on the island

Just sold on this approachable island in Roaringwater Bay, near Baltimore, one with a bridge for ease of access, is the Old Grainstore, a 19th-century stone waterfront conversion overseen in the early 2000s by Dr Stanway. A lover of West Cork, he also wrote a book The Ups and Downs of the Property Ladder: How to Survive Tough Times.

He sold on The Grainstore for an undisclosed €2m-3m sum to a Northern Ireland property developer, who has now sold it on after his time here, for close to the €1.5 million guide it carried when put for sale over a year ago.

The buyer of the stunning c 6,000 sq ft Grainstore is Irish, and quite incredibly given the upper-echelon price it was floated at, it got about two dozen viewers, the majority of them Irish.

Key to its strong sale in a year of a global pandemic was its privacy, acres of land, top-quality conversion and waterfrontage, says estate agent Maeve McCarthy of Charles P McCarthy & Co, Skibbereen.

That’s a pretty extraordinary number of visits for a €1.5m property (it sold fully furnished, yet to appear on the Price Register, and will show at a lesser sum as its land is also discounted from the recorded sale,) but good and all as Turquoise House is, for nearly half the price especially, it’s unlikely to get as much viewer interest piqued, as it doesn’t have the X Factor (or, the Stanway Sex Factor?) as it doesn’t have water frontage.

It does have views, though, down over a few fields and past a contemporary Kiosk Architects’ designed waterfront home owned by artist and Radiohead band tour manager Brian Ormond, overlooking the bay and Baltimore, more or less in line with the RNLI lifeboat station.

Standing on one acre, Turquoise House is an original 1990s' dormer bungalow build, added to with an RIAI-architect-designed lofty extension and living area in 2010, now pushing upwards of 2,400 sq ft and it’s priced at €850,000 by Ms McCarthy as it comes to market in the run-up to Christmas.

Turquoise House Reengaroga Island
Turquoise House Reengaroga Island

It’s been pretty much a full-time home for its owners, who clearly have a love of colour, not afraid to use ranges from a bold and vibrant palette, including blues, reds, greens and, yes,

Turns out, in fact, that the owners/vendors know quite a bit about colour, and visuals, and presentation.

It’s been owned for years by Marion Creedon-Hegarty and her husband Cormac Hegarty, and Marion is very well known in business and the beauty industry, having trained as a ‘Colour me Beautiful’ image consultant, and later setting up her own beauty line Top Image, a high-end tanning product, as well as selling accessories, hats etc, with a retail presence in Cork, Dublin and online.

Reengaroga has been both a holiday bolthole and a more permanent residence for the couple, and they are so taken with it that they named their former Cork home Reengaroga, set on the Rochestown Road, but looking over the Mahon/Douglas Estuary, rather than the wilder and more glorious Roaringwater Bay and Baltimore.

Auctioneer Maeve McCarthy describes it as “a contemporary property designed with sophistication and character, with a great sense of space and modern luxury afforded by the layout and accents of colour of this fine family home”. 

View to the kitchen at Turquoise House
View to the kitchen at Turquoise House

Entered past a glazed porch/hall entrance with glass into the roof into a marble-tiled hall, it has a great, integrated, expansive open plan-kitchen/dining/living room, about 35’ long, and c 16’ wide, with large windows (and a hanging swinging seat) for views taking over the greenest fields, Baltimore harbour/Roaringwater Bay out towards Sherkin Island, and any and all maritime movement and waterborne activity as well (Roaringwater Bay is a Special Area of Conservation for wildlife.) 

This feature room has high, vaulted ceilings, wood-sheeted, and has exposed beams, and the kitchen units are in contrasts of assertive blue and white finishes, with a curved breakfast bar and granite worktops.

Name the colour? 
Name the colour? 

There’s some split level layouts inside too, with lots of access points to a very substantial wrap-around sun deck behind, whilst auctioneers McCarthy's note that the layout of the original dormer with its kitchen/ dining set-up (the units are a strong red) was kept to accommodate guests, adding that the “most stunning open-plan kitchen/living/dining was added to ensure maximum enjoyment of its coastal position”. 

Old and new elements work well together, they add, “and are knitted together by the living room which acts as a fulcrum between them”.

Dormer views
Dormer views

There are up to five bedrooms in all, two upstairs in the original dormer, and the master bedroom is down at ground level by a wet room, one of two ground-floor bathrooms, with a third wash room. 

The selling agents say the exterior, blue-hued, good-slzed home has a nice flow of indoor/outdoor spaces and an impressive standard of finish.

Location is 11 kms from Skibbereen and less of a run to Baltimore, on an accessible island reached over the arched Lag Bridge, with the island population of Reengaroga seeming to be creeping up in most recent years back to a three-figure number, heading towards 100 residents, but still only a fraction of its recorded population of hundreds in pre-Famine times.

Selling in Covid-19 pandemic times, owner Marion Creedon-Hegarty admits to mixed feelings deciding to sell as "it was always full of love and I loved decorating it down through the years".

Banish the blues at Turquoise House's hospitable kitchen
Banish the blues at Turquoise House's hospitable kitchen

"We adored living there and whoever is lucky enough to buy it will be buying a little bit of paradise."

And, she adds of parting company with a home where oft-predictable Farrow & Ball paint shades don't seem to have a squint of a look-in:  "I'm really proud of the colours in the house . . . happy, fun, bright, just like our time living there."

VERDICT: Easy, sunny living on a West Cork island with a bridge for access.

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