A real pearl in Barley Hill

Well-designed and opulent house overlooking Clew bay, with pool, sauna and steam room – and high-spec insulation and geothermal heating to keep the costs down

Thu, May 16, 2013, 01:00

In 2003 when Tom MacManamon and his partner Jackie purchased land just over a mile from the town of Westport the site already had planning permission for a large house designed by local architects Cox & Associates. Tom, a builder by trade, decided to upgrade the plans to include an indoor swimming pool, sun lounge and extra balconies.

The result is a well-designed opulent residence with fabulous views. A long drive with electric gates leads to a hilltop house built to very high specifications, now seven years old but in pristine condition. Facing west over tumbling hillocks to Clew Bay it is minutes from Wesport town but enjoys total privacy due to its elevation.

The kitchen, on a return in this two-storey house, has a full glass gable, taking in the expansive views with access to an outdoor deck. Jackie admits there are times when the winds howl and “It can get quite scary” but these are the tradeoffs for having a view to the open Atlantic.

The handmade kitchen units are solid pippy oak, with granite countertops and Wolf industrial-sized ovens, barbeque and griddle. The highlights of the kitchen are the giant custom-built Sub Zero fridge freezer and ceiling-mounted Focus stove.

Upstairs, there’s a sun room with its own balcony, an office and two small bedrooms, all with wide plank solid oak floors and exposed solid cedar beams. A family bathroom houses a giant Jacuzzi with solid granite countertops.

Downstairs, a large family room with another full-height glass wall taking in the views opens to a vast deck complete with a small waterfall and fountain – a perfect space for entertaining. Barley Hill is for sale through Sherry FitzGerald for €895,000. “The beauty of it is the location,” says Tom. “You can play music as loud as you wish but we really are just minutes from town.” New owners can walk to town via the Greenway at the end of the drive.

The master bedroom, while not large, has solid walnut floors, a small dressing area and yet another patio. A utility room leads on to a potting shed with a glass ceiling allowing Jackie to grow a variety of vegetables, including chillies, tomatoes and peppers. The highlight of the house for many will be the indoor swimming pool, complete with sauna and large steam room. Tiled in mosaic blues and green the pool runs off night-rate electricity and has its own geothermal pump.

Tom admits he has only used the pool a few times since moving in, but says the running costs of the entire house including the pool, sauna and steam room are in the region of €2,500 to €3,000 a year due to the levels of insulation and geothermal heating system.

Tom currently spends much of his working time in the UK, and as his daughter is leaving for college the family want to downsize. New owners of this home are close to an abundance of local amenities; Mayo Sailing Club and Westport Golf Club are minutes away, as are horse riding and the greenway.

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