The smugglers’ caves at Portrane were used by bootleggers in the 19th century and lore has it that they used to follow local seals to discover the deep caverns where they could store loot. The waters here have the largest colony of seals on the east coast – based on Lambay Island – which is visible from the front rooms at Kasifa, a five-bedroom house overlooking the sea in Portrane on the Donabate peninsula.
The owner found a seal one day on the beach. "It was a baby and there were no other seals around, so I ran home and got a wooden crate and contacted Seal Rescue Ireland, who arrived to the front of my house where I kept the baby seal." After a month Ptolemy, as he was known, was released back into the wild from the centre in Wexford.
On another day, the owner had a different find. “I found a headless animal and said to the neighbours I thought I had found a huge decapitated rat, but it turned out to be a wallaby.” There is also a small colony of wallabies on Lambay Island, the inhabited 450-million-year-old extinct volcano.
It was a lifestyle choice for the current owner to live here, close to the sea at Portrane.
“When I first came out here I couldn’t believe it – I was on the cliff walk and thought, My God, this is like a rural Sandycove but without all the houses.”
With a choice of two beaches, Tower and Portrane bays, there is ample space for swimming and kayaking, and with three sub-aqua clubs and a local sailing club, lovers of all things maritime will be spoiled for choice. For golfers there are five clubs on the peninsula alone and the area has lots of walks, including the 2km local cliff walk.
The owners purchased the house in 2013, and engaged architect Aidan Butler to oversee renovations and design an extension to the rear, which now gives the house 170sq m (1,830sq ft) of floor space. The roof needed to be raised to comply with building regulations which had changed since the house was first constructed, so upstairs is now compliant and the property has a new roof since 2014. Two bedrooms and a study, with views that could make it hard to concentrate, lie upstairs with the remaining three bedrooms at garden level.
Downstairs has a formal living room and a spacious kitchen/living/dining area with views to Rockabill Lighthouse, the sea and over to Lambay.
The property, with a Ber of B2, lies on a quarter of an acre inside electric gates. The owners are off to pursue their hobbies in sunnier climes, and have placed their home on the market through Sherry FitzGerald seeking €875,000.