There’s nothing Mad about Oz views

IF you want to know about the lasting legacy of Mad magazine, the comic brand that’s laughing all the way to its 60th year, just look on the internet.

The subversive, but very undergraduate humour of the American comic made it a must-read in 1970s Ireland where copies were passed from hand to hand and brought in specially from the UK.

And it’s still going strong, but will probably never again reach the three million circulation of its heyday under the renowned Bill Gaines.

Gaines inherited the magazine from his father, but bucked censorship in the 50s to take Mad from a comic weekly to its present, magazine format.

What stands out about Gaines’ era was his refusal to allow advertising in Mad – he felt it would affect editorial content and control. The magazine made money purely on subscription – unheard of even then, but particularly today.

Gaines died in 1992 and his role was filled by his widow, Annie Griffiths, who ran the magazine for a while and then retired to anonymity in Kinsale.

She and her family are now selling their property to relocate back to the States, – Austin, Texas, in particular, which New Yorker Griffith’s describes as ‘an island of blue in a sea of red’.

Along with husband Don Ashton, who’s a screenwriter and musician, and their twin daughters, the family hope to take in the arty, musical environment that makes Austin the cultural destination of the southern states.

The result is that auctioneer, Pacelli Nolan is selling their modern, but wonderfully placed bungalow at Summercove for offers in the region of €975,000.

‘Oz’ was built by Ridge Construction in 2000 on a steep hillside with panoramic views over Kinsale harbour.

The high position should make the house exposed, but it isn’t, tucked into a cleft and facing due south, it’s also sheltered from the prevailing south-westerlies by the bulk of Sandycove Island.

Oz has outstanding views over the water, and that’s what counts. Kinsale is just a couple of miles away, but here, it’s rural, coastal and quiet.

There is a community of houses along the narrow country lane and most, like Oz, have large sites and high boundaries.

The approach to the house is fully landscaped and the house is stone-faced in a simple style with green windows that suit the look.

The interior has been stripped out now, so a viewer gets a clean view of the house. All of the important living rooms are to the front, where there are views from every window and they start with the south-east facing kitchen, fitted in white and with a central island and double doors in the dining area. This leads through to the living room, which has a glazed, apex window facing due south and built-in seating to make the most of the view.

The cathedral ceilings, sheeted in pine, are followed through with a rustic, stone firebreast with raised hearth and there are windows on all three sides, with a library nook in one corner.

The official, or formal entrance is at the back, where there’s a cobble-lock courtyard and access to the detached games room.

This is to the rear of the main living room, (and could be joined with a glass corridor, perhaps) and is a bright, rectangular space that has the potential to become another reception room, and would fit the flow of the house.

The main hallway has a guest bathroom and on the north-eastern side, (running along the rear of the kitchen,) there are three double bedrooms and a huge main bathroom as well as a full bathroom in the master suite.

Dimensions are very generous: these are no small rooms in this house, which offers 210 square metres of space overall, including a detached games/ living room.

The gardens are set and easily maintained and there’s a good garden shed and glasshouse.

The front of the house has a stone-flagged terrace, with seats here and they invite the viewer to just sit and watch as boats under sail appear out of the mouth of Kinsale harbour.


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