Sea views and hidden gold for €1.3m
Stretching over 374sq m, this unique glass-fronted property has an idyllic setting on the sandy shores of Lough Swilly in Co Donegal
Lough Swilly in Donegal is one of Ireland’s great sea inlets stretching 40km inland and reaching depths of 50m. A haven for birdlife as one of Ireland’s premier wetlands, it has also been a refuge for sailors and seafarers for centuries.
John Newton, the “wretch”, penned his infamous poem Amazing Grace here after taking refuge in the lough in 1779, eventually swapping slave trading for Christianity. In 1917 the HMS Laurentic, en route to Halifax in Nova Scotia with a bounty of 43 tons of gold for the US and Canadian governments, sank in the lough. Today’s estimate of the gold’s worth is €350 million, and 22 ingots still remain buried in the sea bed.
A kilometre from the village of Rathmullen is Apple Tree House, an imposing property on two acres of waterside gardens.
Roy and Rosie Spence bought the lands in 1979, “when the area was a swamp”, according to Roy. The couple constructed a holiday home which was demolished years later when they decided to make Rathmullen their principal residence.
While away in Sri Lanka, the couple gave the house to architect Gareth O’ Donnell of Studio 10 in Derry, to live in in order to design their new home. The couple returned and O’Donnell’s design was duly constructed
Stretching over 374sq m, the glass-fronted property has an idyllic setting on the sandy shores of the lough.
Inside the split level house, where all the rooms boast sea views, are a multitude of reception areas – art room, games room, library, dining and living rooms , and a spacious kitchen which opens out onto one of the many terraces.
The two-acre plot “was 35 years hard labour”, according to Roy, and enjoys a full kitchen garden laden with fruits and vegetables, and spectacular lawns rolling down to the sandy beach. The highlight is a glass gazebo perched on a hill with views to the Inishowen peninsula, where the couple have entertained up to 12 guests for dinner.
Besides the house, an oak barn designed by Devon-based architect Roderick James lies adjacent. Its original purpose was as a four bedroom summer house but is currently used as a garden shed. New owners could reinstate its original intention, subject to planning.
With 30 species of fish on the doorstep, a sandy beach for morning swims, a sea bed with solid gold and frequent visits from the Northern Lights, Apple Tree House has a truly unique setting.
It’s for sale through Savills asking €1.3million.