Thatched cottage overlooking Kenmare Bay for €2.75m

It has an old-style charm but Shearwater was built only five years ago and has all mod cons including self-cleaning windows, programmable lighting and motion sensor security

For sheer beauty, it would be difficult to think of a better address than Shearwater.

On the Wild Atlantic Way, Ring of Kerry and Kerry Way, the house has views over Kenmare Bay and the Caha Mountains on the Beara Peninsula.

Built by current owners, Roland and Veronica Blennerhasset, five years ago, the house, while it has every mod con you could think of – from self-cleaning windows to programmable lighting to motion sensor security – also has an old-style charm. This is evident from the outside where a thatched roof helps it to sit naturally and softly into the landscape.

Is thatch a commitment? Not these days: “We love it,” says Veronica. “It was done by Munster Thatching, who are absolute geniuses. You don’t have to do a thing to it for years. I think it’ll outlive us…”


Tranquil space

Inside, the flow of rooms, and the constant sense of connection to the 6.25 acre grounds and the sea almost at your doorstep, make it a calming and tranquil space.

“It’s light-filled, and that for me is crucial. It’s south facing, and sitting here now at full tide, looking at the water, the stillness is such a blessing.”

The family formerly lived in Tralee in the gorgeous Parknadoon House. In fact, the couple met in that town in 1973, when Veronica, representing Belfast, became Rose of Tralee, and in a romantic twist, Rowland had been her escort. The move to Kenmare came about because “we had decided we were getting ready to retire, and wanted to move here. We had always come a lot during our lives, so we found the site and built the house.”

More recently, planning restrictions have limited building along the waterfront in this part of the world, so the location of the house is very special. The couple worked with Bill Maxwell of Maxwell Pierce Architects, Enniskillen to realise Shearwater, although now with their grown children having moved on, they’re remaining in the area, but looking for something a little smaller than the 584sq m (6,290sq ft) of accommodation that Shearwater provides.

For sale with Sherry FitzGerald and Christie’s International for €2.75 million, the house has four bedrooms with enchanting eaves-ceilings. The master suite is vast, including a study and sitting area, as well as dressingroom, bedroom and en suite. There’s also a French Provincial-style kitchen with Aga, dining, drawing and family rooms downstairs.

It has all been done to the highest spec, with mahogany windows, Geo Thermal separately zoned underfloor heating on both levels, and energy efficient design giving it a BER of B2. Despite its scale, it is very welcoming.

Bay windows and balconies make the sea views an integral part of the house, while a garden house provides plenty of storage, and an additional summer spot for sitting. Kenmare is a charming and busy country town, with good restaurants and all the amenities of the lovely Park Hotel too.

“We’re keen walkers, and also love to kayak around the islands. It’s so private and there’s incredible wildlife,” Veronica says.

“Kenmare is intoxicating, you fall in love with it, and that feeling deepens the longer you’re here. It’s a lovely thing to be able to say about a place.”

It’s a pretty lovely house too.