When life's a beach
BOLT HOLES:Meet five lucky families who can escape to their beach-side homes and periodically live life to the rhythms of the ocean waves and collect dinner from the shore, writes ALANNA GALLAGHER
Swedish style house – paradise for the kids and grandkids
Restaurateurs Roddy and Maureen Hickson live on a shingle beach in Co Wexford. Having lived in Sweden, Roddy built the place so that his kids could experience the feel of a Swedish timber house. They have the beach to themselves most days, save for the stalwart swimmers.
“It is a children’s paradise, which is why I bought it. I wanted to capture for my kids the childhood that I had. Our own kids have grown up and now they come back with their children. We have an annex where they come and stay. We fly kites together, fish for gurnard off the rocks using limpets as bait, go crabbing and explore the darkest corners of the rock pools.
“The energy is wonderful amidst the elements of water and wind. On a stormy day it feels invigorating, exciting and calming. We can see up to Arklow Head and enjoy the elegant movements of the Arklow windmills. At night, the light boats and buoys light up the bay.”
Roddy and Maureen run Papa Rhodes a restaurant in Ballycanew, open Wednesday-Sunday in July and seven days a week during August. It is open for lunch from 1-3.30 pm and for dinner from 6- 9.30pm. Tel: 053-9427533.
The lighthouse family
Interior designer Helen Turkington has a beach-front bolthole on Carnfield Beach in Co Down, a place she used to go to with her uncle when she was a child.
It’s a lighthouse cottage that was built in 1806. The house, in south Co Down, has four-bedrooms; two have bunk beds with pull-out beds so they can sleep up to six kids in one room. Turkington was looking for a bolt hole in which to spend quality time with her three kids; Tilly, aged nine, Freddie, seven, and Florie, six.
Cranfield Beach is a stretch of white sand that is about three quarters of a mile long. “We walk it every day. There is never anyone else on it. It is like our own private strand.
“We paddle and scour the rock pools for crabs. There is very little swimming as the water is freezing.”
It is not the most attractive looking of houses, says Turkington, but looks were not the point. It is a total switch-off for the designer who divides her time between London and Dublin.