Marie and Danny Healy built Overlookin’ as a holiday home for their family
If we got a penny for every time a property brochure claimed a house had ‘breathtaking’ or ‘stunning’ views, we’d be very wealthy. But in the case of Overlookin’ in Kenmare, Co Kerry, the views pass muster to the extent that they’ve earned the owners plenty of pennies. Of the 24 five-star reviews of the property featured on Airbnb, 20 of the guests raved about ‘the amazing view over Kenmare Bay’.
It’s this vista that attracted Wicklow-based Marie and Danny Healy to the site in 2000 when they were looking for somewhere to invest in a holiday home.
“We bought a site with views to die for,” says Marie. “We wanted somewhere around Kenmare because my husband has Kerry connections from both his parents, and my granddad was from West Cork. It was used full-on for years by ourselves and our four kids. We tried to get down every second weekend throughout the year, and during summer holidays we would pack up and head to Kenmare, and come back home for the start of school term in September.”
The Healys made sure they took full advantage of the views over Kenmare Bay when they were building the house, which is why Marie’s favourite place to be is the upstairs sitting room.
“When we first did the house, we put three windows in the sitting room upstairs. We thought this would be plenty, but when we sat on the couch we realised you couldn’t see the sea, so added three more windows underneath,” laughs Marie. “I love to just sit there and look out at the sea. It’s so relaxing. The master bedroom is beside it and has the same views, and they are really something else when you open the curtains in the morning.”
All the décor is down to Marie with her love for colours and upcycling. “We bought some antique pine stuff in the UK but we really tried to recycle as much as we could,” she says.
The younger members of the family have now grown up and are travelling the world, so the house isn’t being used much these days. “We’re at the stage where we just don’t go down to it as much as we would like,” says Marie. “All good things… as they say. We really had some great times there over the years, even spent a few Christmases there and put the cooking range to the test.”
The couple is now Airbnbing the house so that it’s not sitting empty when they’re not staying themselves. Marie thinks it’s a great option open to people with holiday homes, who don’t plan to spend every weekend there. Overlookin’ is particularly popular on the site.
“We have been chock-a-block with bookings from day one. I put it up on the site in May 2017 and I was booked up to September within three weeks. Accommodation is so short around Kenmare, so if new owners wanted the option of being able to let it out when they’re not using it, they will have no problem at all.”
The house is laid out over two floors, with an overall floor area of 1,704 sq ft. Downstairs, there’s an open-plan living/kitchen area. The kitchen has country-style units and a gas double oven and eight-ring hob.
The living area has a solid fuel stove that will come in handy during the unforgiving winter months and double doors out to the deck. There is a guest bathroom off the hall and a utility room off the kitchen, with a washing machine, dishwasher, fridge-freezer and boiler. On the other side of the house are three double bedrooms (each with wooden floors), and a family bathroom.
Upstairs is where you go to really appreciate the much-talked about view. Every window in the lounge captures views of the bay or mountains. A cream stove that was restored by Danny sits in the centre of this room under a timber mantlepiece. The master bedroom is on this level too and has an en suite bathroom and a separate room that could be used as a walk-in wardrobe.
The house sits on 0.59 of an acre and has a detached garage.
It’s in a very peaceful area, down a quiet road with just a couple of other houses on it. The heritage town of Kenmare is 8.3km away, where you are spoiled for choice when it comes to restaurants and pubs. You’ll be lucky to get a table at the likes of Mulcahy’s, Mick and Jimmy’s and The Boathouse, when tourists flock to the town in the summer. Pubs in Kenmare are renowned for keeping things traditional, particularly Crowley’s where there’s no Wi-Fi, no TV and no cash register, but visitors claim they have the best pint of Guinness.
Kenmare isn’t the only option for a pint though because about 3km from the house is a place called Black Water Tavern. It’s a little crossroads with a pub, petrol pumps and post office. The pub is small but lively and well known in the area for its music and dancing.
The house is accessed from the Ring of Kerry and is just off the Kerry Way. At 200km, this is one of Ireland’s longest walking trails that loops around the Iveragh Peninsula and finishes in Killarney. If a big hike sounds like too much hard work, you can always sit back on the deck of Overlookin’ and watch nature do her thing from the comfort of your own home instead.