Two houses, one vision, for the perfect island escape on Achill
German architects built these stone houses side by side on the ocean’s edge at Cloughmore
When artist Paul Henry arrived on Achill more than a century ago, he flung his return train ticket into the sea and stayed for more than a decade.
Nobel Prize-winning author Heinrich Böll lived periodically on the island and wrote his observations of Achill life in his Irish Journal. Fifty years later, author Hugo Hamilton retraced Böll’s journey on Achill in The Island of Talking.
In 1992, three partners of the Hamburg-based firm Medium Architects decided on a fishing holiday in Ireland to celebrate winning a prestigious award in Germany. On an afternoon jaunt to Achill, on the Atlantic drive, they came across old ruins perched on a hill at the ocean’s edge at Cloughmore.
After two hours of sitting in stunned silence taking in the vistas, they agreed they would try and purchase the lands to build their dream homes.
The three houses (the third is a small dwelling used for a fortnight annually) took eight years to complete and are sensitively built in local stone. The vista provides 180-degree views of the Atlantic interspersed with Clare Island, Croagh Patrick and Achill Head.
These properties are not your typical family homes; in fact the sites could be deemed unsafe for children.
What lies here at the edge of Europe are two exceptional dwellings that would suit creative people in need of silence, seclusion and inspiration. In the words of Hugo Hamilton, a visitor to Glór Na Mara – this is where you “sink into a dream”.
Glór Na Mara
Description:Architect-designed stone house with one bedroom and sea views, asking €690,000
This is the dream residence of architect Thies Jentz, who here fulfilled his lifelong ambition to paint. Romance lured the 74- year-old owner back to Germany and the house went on the market in 2010. It has been reduced twice from an original asking price of €925,000 and is now for sale at €690,000.
Jentz bought a ruined castle in Northern Ireland and used the stone to create flagstone flooring throughout the property.
The fact that it has only one bedroom – albeit a very large one with its own living area and fireplace – may put some people off but there is scope to turn the atelier into another bedroom.
The galley kitchen meets the dining area at an enormous in-built barbecue complete with chimney breast. The building has three fireplaces and, despite the amount of glass and exposure to the wind, doesn’t feel at all cold.
A small living area off the dining room houses a huge open fire and there’s a warm Moroccan feel to the decor. The large atelier, where Jentz installed a huge easel on a pulley system in the ceiling means the room has multi-functional uses, and can be used as a further living area, a bedroom or, as in recent years, a music room. A small library, with further dramatic views, houses many books including those by famous writers who have stayed in Glór Na Mara over the past 12 years.
It is for sale through agent Engel Voelkers ( engelvoelkers.com)Teach Na Gaoithe
Description: Architect-designed, open-plan house with three beds, asking €800,000
Agent: For sale by the ownersThis aptly named house sits right beside, and shares a driveway with, Glór Na Mara. It was built by architect Peter Wiesner and his photographer wife, Inge, who have lived here for the past 12 years but are selling up now because much of Inge’s work is Berlin based.
The house stands on almost four acres and includes further planning permission (granted in April 2012) for a 250sq m (2691sq ft) artist’s studio on the site.
The open-plan design gives the house a warm, airy feel, and there are many features which show a heavy Le Corbusier influence, especially the master suite, which has its own living area that leads down to a dramatic bedroom with stunning sea views and a large fireplace.
Upstairs, there’s access to a double studio which leads to a roof garden.
Two further bedrooms complete the house, one small twin and the other on a mezzanine with views to the stars at night.
The dramatic dining area spills onto a patio overlooking the ocean.
The small but perfectly functioning kitchen leads to a conservatory.
Two ruins that stand on the land have the potential for development and one has been used as a barbecue area. It was also used in the late 1990s as a location for the film Love and Rage, starring Daniel Craig and Greta Scacchi.
Teach Na Gaoithe is for sale by the owner for €800,000 (firstname.lastname@example.org).