Bond villain’s west of Ireland retreat for €285,000

Actor who played KGB general and his partner escaped hustle and bustle of London at this quaint Gort cottage with guest house

Address: Attifineen, Gort, Co Galway
Price: €285,000
Agent: DNG O'Sullivan Hurley
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If you were to guess the name of this picture-perfect thatched cottage, complete with a stone guest cottage, in the countryside of Gort, Co Galway, the bright lights of Los Angeles may not be the first reference to come to mind. The late actor Walter Gotell found great fun in telling film folk on phone calls that he was in Studio City; he named this home after the neighbourhood just over the hill from Hollywood, insinuating he lived in the heart of the movie-making mecca rather than rural Galway.

The name also worked for his partner, Sheila, who, as a keen painter herself, had plans to reinstate two ruins on the grounds as buildings to become studios for artists, giving the “studio” of the name further significance – although she never got around to doing so.

Gotell, the German-born actor and British citizen, was best known as a Bond villain in the Roger-Moore-era of the franchise; from the late 1970s he played the recurring KGB leader General Gogol in The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, A View to a Kill and The Living Daylights. He had previously appeared as a different villain, Morzeny, in From Russia with Love in 1963. His other well-known films include The African Queen (in which he acted alongside Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn), The Guns of Navarone and The Boys from Brazil.

Although it is Sheila who has Irish heritage, it was Gotell who found the cottage, and the pair decided to buy it after just one visit. A full-time home, as evidenced from how well-kept the property is, Sheila has lived here for about 28 years, and stayed in situ following Gotell’s death in 1997. They originally bought the home to escape the hustle and bustle of London and to live more peacefully.


The main cottage, built circa 1910, is such a beauty with sky-blue accents and a traditional thatched roof; Shelia took pride in retaining a part of Irish heritage, she says, and she had the infrastructure of the roof upgraded so it wouldn’t be a big job to replace it with regular tiles – that would be an awful shame, though, aesthetically speaking.

The four-bedroom cottage, measuring 118sq m (1,270sq ft) with an E Ber rating, has a lovely interior with a tiled entrance porch leading into the cosy livingroom. The living room features an open-hearth fireplace with a wood-burning stove and white plastered walls, creating an ideal atmosphere to huddle up with a blanket and a good book. The room is decorated with beautiful gilt-framed portraits painted by Sheila.

The eat-in kitchen features farmhouse-style wooden units, with a door to the garden. There are three bedrooms on the ground floor, one of which features ceiling beams while another has a cast-iron fireplace, as well as the main bathroom. The fourth bedroom suite occupies the first floor with its own en suite shower room and a multi-person sauna.

That is not an end to the accommodation on this site, as there is also a second guest cottage, built with stone from the nearby Burren, with walls 70cm thick. You sleep like a baby in this one-bed annexe, says Sheila’s daughter. The exposed stone adds character throughout the building, which comprises a kitchenette and living/dining space, a double bedroom and a shower room.

The grounds, extending to 0.7 of an acre, also offer plenty of potential: for keen gardeners of course, but also for further development – perhaps to reinstate the ruins as buildings as the owner had planned.

This charming cottage offers much more than meets the eye, and is on the market through DNG O’Sullivan Hurley, seeking €285,000. With remote working an option for some, this property could well suit first-time buyers or downsizers who are looking to close their laptop at 5pm and enjoy the gorgeous surroundings. It would suit creatives looking for space to work, and those looking for space to cultivate their own fruits, vegetables and herbs on the grounds.

Although it offers peace and seclusion, Studio City at Attifineen is just a 25-minute drive from the Burren National Park, 25 minutes from the flaggy shore coastline at Kinvara, 25 minutes from Ennis and 10 minutes from Gort for when you want to “dip back into life”, as Sheila’s daughter puts it. It is also just a 35-minute drive from Shannon Airport.

Jessica Doyle

Jessica Doyle

Jessica Doyle writes about property for The Irish Times