Dingle home where Saoirse Ronan stayed and Waking Ned was written for €1.4m

Casting directors Ros and John Hubbard have lived in this seven-bedroom house and cottage with views over the bay

This article is 8 months old
Address: Tigín An Béar, Kilnaglearagh, Dingle, Co Kerry
Price: €1,400,000
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes
View this property on MyHome.ie

In a curious twist, Ros and John Hubbard, who have discovered some of Ireland’s brightest acting talent, had never seen the remarkable views from their home on the Dingle peninsula when they purchased the house.

“We had been invited to dinner by watercolourist Tom Roche, so seven of us packed into a Mini and went to a party there. It was just the old cottage [from the early 1900s] back then. Later on someone had said that Tom had to sell and John just said, ‘Tell him it’s sold’. It was all a bit mad as we had a mortgage in London and I didn’t have a clue where we’d get a mortgage to buy this,” says Ros.

As the woman who discovered stars such as Colin Farrell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and saw the potential in a teenage Kate Winslet, Ros moved to London, where she married John. Their company, Hubbard Casting, synonymous with casting early breakthrough actors, has since been joined by their children, Amy and Dan.

On her latest project, Ros says: “We have just finished filming Cry from the Sea [starring Aidan Quinn and Dominic Cooper] in Belmullet, where my mother was from.

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“The lighthouse up there really clinched it. We also spent time in Belgium recording Godspy, the remarkable story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the pastor who tried to stop Hitler, and who was hanged two weeks before Hitler’s death.”

While using the house as a summer home, “packed with the kids” each year, the couple realised it was the perfect balance away from the whirlwind of London life. To that end, Ros along with local engineer Sean Moriarty, designed an extension to the house, which now measures a generous 327sq m (3,520sq ft). “We had the dream of giving up film and running a guest house here. While that didn’t really transpire, we used to let out the cottage [which can be closed off from the rest of the property], and also used to get requests from actors to stay”.

Actor Saoirse Ronan is among those who have stayed at the cottage as well as the writer Anne Enright, the late film-maker Alan Parker and the actor and comedian Denis Leary, who Ros describes as “hilarious”. The screenplay for Waking Ned was written at the house: “Kirk Jones had approached us with a short, set in Bristol, but it had so much potential I told him to go to the house in Dingle and write a feature-length script and set it in Ireland.

“He took the character names from the local graveyard here, and got that comic sense of what it is to be Irish. But back then nobody would touch it, and it had to be made on the Isle of Man. It took about $2 million to make, but made over $55 million in the end,” says Ros.

Tigín An Béar is really a charming house set on a mature 0.4-acre site with uninterrupted views of the Dingle Peninsula. It has seven bedrooms in total: five in the new-build, all of which are doubles with en suite and open out to a large balcony with maritime vistas across the bay to Cahersiveen. Two further bedrooms lie in the original cottage, which is ideal for guests or as a rental. Reception areas include two sittingrooms and a study, while the property also has two kitchens to facilitate rental of the original cottage.

Gardens were initially designed by landscaper Val Griffin along with Ros’s niece Fiona Gallagher and now have year-round colour from agapanthus, dahlias, hydrangea and tree ferns.

Tigín An Béar translates as bear’s small house, as the Hubbards affectionately call each other “bear”. They will miss the views, the peace and silence of their home, but it is just too big for the pair of them. Moving closer to town (they’re just over a kilometre away at present), they hope to slow down a bit by “reading a few scripts, giving a few talks and advising young people”. They are also involved in the local arts scene and sit on the board of the Dingle Film Festival.

They have chosen to stay in the locality after 40 years in London, as “people here are invariably warm and kind”. To this end they have placed their lovely home, with a Ber of B3, on the market through Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes and Sherry FitzGerald Stephenson Crean, seeking €1.4 million.

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about property, fine arts, antiques and collectables