Old and new in a coastal paradise
MWEELOON, MAREE, ORANMORE, CO GALWAY €1.25m Sherry FitzGerald: (01) 237 6308 / (091) 864309 Viewing: by appointment
AFTER working and living abroad for 20 years, our family of four was ready to come home to Ireland,” say the owners of Mweeloon, located in Maree near Oranmore in Co Galway. it’s a luxurious waterside home with 325sqm of living space, designed and built in 2014 by Mulcaire Heffernan of Barna.
“After years spent moving from one busy metropolis to another, we were craving some peace and solitude by the water and so were looking for a coastal location within easy reach of Galway city, which is only 20 minutes away.”
What they found was an original thatched cottage in need of total refurbishment, on enough land to allow them to build a separate large family house and still have almost an acre of garden.
“We chose the location because of its natural landscape first,” say the owners. “It really is a hidden gem with everything one needs right on the doorstep. The lifestyle is second to none. It offers a safe and happy environment where children can experience nature and lots of freedom, a place where we live by the currents, plan by the tides, and enjoy spectacular sunrises and sunsets. The brief was to create a bright and spacious house that embraced the contours and folds of the elevated site.”
The house was to be integrated into the surrounding landscape and take advantage of the sea views over the horseshoe-shaped Inishcorra Bay, home to numerous species of wildfowl and a seal colony. Each area of living space within the house has been positioned to maximise the orientation of the sun. The reception hall is panelled in solid Irish elm and, from here, double doors lead to the open-plan kitchen. An en suite guest bedroom is off the hall.
The kitchen is very much the heart of the home, with a layout suited to both entertaining and family life. The family area has sliding doors out to a west-facing balcony and there is an adjacent television room. The most impressive room is the lounge, which has a cut-stone fireplace, wonderful views and two access doors to the south-facing balcony to the front of the house. On the ground floor there is also a large office with ocean views, a utility room and a four-car garage. Upstairs there are four double bedrooms. The master has two dressing rooms, and three of the bedrooms are en-suite. There is also a family bathroom.
Lying next to the main residence is the original three-bedroomed thatched cottage which has recently been renovated. This is ideal for guests or as a rental and has its own patio and garden with sea views. There are also two outbuildings, one with a large Belfast sink and shower facilities that could be used as an artist’s studio or games room. The other is large enough to store kayaks and other equipment.
“We love the coastal walks towards Tawin Island, famous for its oysters, which end up in top seafood restaurants like Morans on the Weir down the road,” say the owners. “The fact that Shannon and Knock airports are within an hour’s drive is a real plus, and the M6 makes Dublin easily accessible.
“Maree has a wonderful newly-built national school which is a 15-minute bike ride from the house, and, at the heart of Maree village, just five minutes away, sits Grealy’s grocery/deli store/ garden centre/petrol station. Clarinbridge and Oranmore are about five kilometres away and both have excellent primary schools, Oranmore also has a great secondary school. We are 20 minutes from the city, and Oranmore has lots of amenities including a weekly farmers’ market.”
The owners have made the most of the outdoor lifestyle on their doorstep.
“Being surrounded by water, we had no excuse for not taking up kayaking, paddleboarding and windsurfing. The bay is shallow, so is perfect for beginners and small children who just want to go crabbing and fishing. Rinville is a centre from which to sail to other coastal resorts, and the Galway Bay Sailing Club and Rinville Park are great attractions, as is the Galway Bay Golf Resort. The local community centre is equipped with basketball courts, soccer pitches and tennis courts.
“We have enjoyed entertaining guests with barbecue parties and sunset cocktails on the balconies,” say the owners. “We have really loved our time in Galway, particularly the arts festivals, and scenic day trips to the Burren and Connemara that are within easy reach. We feel very lucky to have lived in such a paradise close to a city with such friendly people as our neighbours.”
Now, though, the family’s circumstances have changed and they are relocating, ready for a new chapter in their globe-trotting lives.
Mweeloon is perfectly sited for coastal walks and watersports in the shallow bay
The kitchen is the heart of the modern new home, built alongside the original thatched cottage, which has been renovated