‘A house that’s good for the soul’ – meet the woman who has turned a derelict cottage into a €750,000 Kerry bolthole

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Sorrento Lodge, Seafield, Tralee, Co Kerry Asking price: €745,000 Agent: Moovingo (01) 516 9999

rom the moment she set foot on the land surrounding Sorrento Lodge in Tralee, Rosalyn Rosarie just knew she had to have this property. Even as the selling estate agent cut back the brambles and briars so they could gain access to what was left of the then derelict cottage, she didn’t waiver in her determination.

“I was living in Dublin at the time, although I’m from Kerry. After my divorce, I wanted tranquility and peace, so the minute I saw the spectacular vision of the views of the sea and the mountain, I just thought ‘Oh my God’!”

Undeterred by the work that lay ahead, Rosarie made an offer just two hours after the viewing. As the highest bidder at the time, she told the agent she needed an answer that night because she couldn’t go to bed without knowing if it would be her new home or not.

It turns out that buying it was the easy bit. It was 2015 and the house was derelict, and Rosarie now had to figure out what to do with it.

“I had to decide was I going to completely knock it or try to refurbish what was there. I had plans drawn up by an architect and they were beautiful. But then I met a builder, Liam Sugrue, and he thought I was mad to change the whole thing.”

So the plans were ditched and Rosarie and Sugrue set about restoring the existing cottage. Their shared passion for the old building meant they had the same vision, making working together a lot easier, most of the time.

While the work was being done, Rosario was living with her children in an apartment in Dublin. They were all cramped up in the rental, with one going to college and the other off to work, so Rosario spent the time dreaming of her Kerry bolthole.

“I was up and down all of the time. I was very hands on. Liam said to me one time, ‘will you do me a favour and either take up drink or go on a long holiday?’ I think I was too full of ideas,” Rosarie laughs.
What was left of the cottage was brought back to bare walls. The roof was replaced with Bangor slate and the ceilings were raised to 8ft inside.

Any brick that was left over from that removed from the original building was reused around the cottage, both internally and externally.

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The view from one of the living areas

“The wall around the fire is the old redbrick from the original house. Some of the stones on the patio are also original. We kept the deep inset in all of the sills and new sash windows were installed to create little picture windows.”

The cottage that was originally built in the 1800s was brought back to life and now has a floor area of 2,000 sq ft. The reception rooms were designed to make the most of the sea views at the front of the property.

The high ceilings mean every room feels bright and spacious, which is exactly what Rosarie was hoping to achieve.

“I loved decorating it. I deliberately didn’t put any wall units up high in the kitchen, so it doesn’t feel like you’re stepping into a kitchen, if that makes sense?”

“I created a walled garden that is just off my en-suite bathroom, so when I’m lying the bath, I open up the patio door and I’m looking on to the walled garden that was made from the original bricks that came out of the house.”

There are four bedrooms and three bathrooms in the house. The kitchen, dining and living room are all open-plan and have doors out to the front.

There is another separate living room beside this and a large utility room that is plumbed for washing machine and dryer.

It would make a great family home, not only because of the space in the house as it is, but also because there is potential to extend further on the 0.75-acre site, and there is an outhouse that is large enough to convert into a two-bed apartment or a very big home office.

Rosarie brought the wiring and plumbing out to the outhouse when she was renovating the main house, so new owners would already be on their way.

For those looking for a home away from the city, the area has been wired for fibre broadband that is due to be up and running at the end of the year or early next year.

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Another one of the views from Sorrento Lodge

Sorrento Lodge is 3km from Tralee and is within walking distance of two renowned Kerry restaurants – The Oyster Tavern and The Tankard.

Keen golfers couldn’t be better placed with the Arnold Palmer-designed Tralee Golf Course right on the doorstep.

As a testament to the view around the course at Barrow, Palmer said after his work there, “I may have designed the first nine, but surely God designed the back nine”.

For Rosarie, her time in Kerry has come to a close.

Although she loves the house that she says is good for the soul, she has decided to move back to the city.

“I live alone here and my kids are in Dublin and Dublin is part of me,” she says. “I miss my life and friends there, so I don’t want to let that go.

“Life is built in chapters so it’s time for the next chapter. And if I don’t leave Sorrento Lodge now, it will get harder to go.”

Moovingo wants €745,000 on her behalf.

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