This coastal property on Greystones cliff road is a rare find for €595k
Owner says Bealtaine was ‘a hell of a place to grow up in’ - not surprising given its spectacular location
Aerial image of the house.
Exterior of the house.
View of the sea from the house.
The living room takes advantage of the view down the garden and out to the sea.
- Address: Bealtaine, Cliff Road, Winegates, Greystones, Co Wicklow
- Price: € 595,000
- Agent: Sherry FitzGerald
On a clear and calm Indian summer day, a path of glistening sunlight reflected on water cuts across the Irish Sea and runs up to the foot of the garden of Bealtaine, a bungalow at the very end of Cliff Road on the south-facing shoulder of Bray Head, Co Wicklow. The views are simply breathtaking.
From the front of the house to the east is that sea; south is Greystones and behind; and to the west and north, as it were, is Bray Head – a little bald in patches after this summer’s fire but still an imposing feature of the landscape.
There are only a handful of homes on the sea-facing side of Cliff Road with largely uninterrupted views of the water and further on south into Wicklow.
One of them is Bealtaine, a three-bed bungalow perched on a one-acre site and built in stages from the early 1950s to 1970s.
No amount of florid prose, nor even the rosiest of rose-tinted glasses, can make the house what it is not. After many years as a family home, it shows its age and is of a style, inside and out, that, simply put, is no longer in fashion.
But what a location . . .
Bealtaine was home to the Etchingham family – mother Denise, father Kevin, and their two boys, Fiachra and Colmán – until Mrs Etchingham’s death late last year at the age of 91.
The house is built backwards into the headland, the front taking full advantage of the view. Much of the building and interior work was done by the late Mr Etchingham.
The one-acre garden falls away directly from the front of the house. The gradient is quite steep but terracing has created a number of flat areas and sun traps.
Mature trees – pines, cherry, rowan and holly among them – line either side of the lawn garden, creating great privacy in what is already a very secluded location.
Here, the madding crowd is far, far away; there is only the sound of leaves rustling in a light breeze, the rhythmic breaking of waves far below, and birdsong.
“It was a hell of a place to grow up in,” says Fiachra Etchingham. “Being a kid and having that whole area – Bray Head and everything – to play in was fantastic.”
He and his brother could walk to the bottom of their garden, cross the Bray/Greystones cliff walk path and get to the rocks below to swim, or head across to Greystones’ north beach.
“I remember as a kid getting up early, like at 4am, to watch the sun rise. We’d regularly see the Welsh mountains,” says Fiachra.
Apart from observing the passing activity in the Irish Sea – ferry and cargo ship traffic, sailing and naval vessels – the area around the house was also alive with nature, including pheasants and cuckoo, rabbits, hares and deer.
In the family’s heyday, the Etchinghams kept chickens and ducks and grew many of their own vegetables. Their milk came from a farmer just below them on Bray Head who left it in a can, hanging from a bush.
Bealtaine, which is for sale through Sherry FitzGerald for €595,000, has three bedrooms; a narrow, galley-style kitchen at the back, and a bathroom and toilet.
The central area of the house is filled by a large L-shaped living room that takes advantage of the view down the garden and out to the sea.
A narrow porch-cum-conservatory extension to the front of the house is a perfect perch for sitting to read a book (of which the house had many) or just taking in that view, whatever the weather.
There are a number of outhouses, four to the rear, and one out front (which could be transformed into a separate garden room).
The whole interior of the house could be transformed with some imagination but the greatest likelihood is that Bealtaine will be seen as an opportunity to substantially redevelop, within tight planning restrictions, a site that is of truly rare potential.