It was fitting that the internet and the world wide web came in handy when it came time to refurbish this 150-year-old seaside Kerry estate during the last years of the global pandemic, because the building itself played a role in transatlantic communications in its own heyday. .
Now called Kinard House, this Victorian house was built as the private home of the overseer of a transatlantic cable-laying and operating company that reached the coast of Ballinskelligs in the 1870s, one of only three such stations in southern Kerry, the others are in Valentia and Waterville. .
The cable communications service lasted from 1874 to 1922 and was closed after the cable from Newfoundland to Europe was rerouted to Cornwall.
Known for decades as the Overseer’s House, the rather impressive house later went on to a variety of uses, including guest accommodation, before lying dormant for a good number more years.
It last changed hands in 2019, as a top, and was bought by a UK couple, Ian and Caroline Shepherd, who have lived in a variety of countries and made the jump to Ballinskelligs from their last base, an apartment. . in Amsterdam.
Chalk and cheese, something like that.
That was just before Covid-19 arrived, and between having done work in several other houses and being able to work remotely, they managed to completely rehabilitate the Superintendent’s House over the next two years, from head to toe and front to back. . clearing the 0.8 acre site that fronts the beach expanse, in the epicenter of Ballinskelligs.
A colorized photograph hangs among the many, many strong graphic images on the walls of the house now, showing its relationship to the design of the cable station’s glory days, its many buildings, and what is now the well-known Cable bar. O’Leary’s and restaurant on the beach.
Other images include posters and artwork for movies, from classics like
to more artwork as well as modeling images – quite a small selection from Ian Shepherd’s career as creative and artistic director for a number of advertising and marketing companies.
But, as well as that creative/media side, Ian also has a good DIY base which he cultivated as he started to tackle renovations here (the internet was also helpful for Googling tips), taking advantage of locally available labor and skilled trades. as needed in between. Coronavirus Site Restrictions: From the finished product, it appears that he and Caroline are sticklers for details and finishes.
They put blood, sweat and tears on it; literally at one point, Caroline fell through rotten floorboards into a first-floor attached bathroom. Ian went a step further when he cut off the top of a finger with a circular saw, he needed a trip to the GP, then a referral to hospital in Tralee and a further referral to Cork University Hospital.
He managed to keep most of the affected finger and it doesn’t seem to have deterred either of them from looking for another project, perhaps around Kenmare where they have friends.
They handed over the sale of Kinard House to Ron Krueger of Engle & Volkers, who recently opened a second office in Kenmare and who has had a hot run selling luxury Ballinskelligs and Iveragh in recent years.
He proposes the recently completed Kinard House, built in 1874, for €750,000 and expects the main interest to be foreign/international and relocation. of the property”.
It has kept the original fireplaces, lots of original pine flooring, crown molding, and picture rails (ceiling heights are excellent at about 10 feet). The rooms have kept their original proportions, there are now bay windows with built in seating, and then also the updated front has new double glazed sliding sash windows in hardwood with chains made by Munster Joinery, a thermodynamic water heating system , gas central heating and all new fully tiled bathrooms with sanitary ware from Victoria Plum in the UK and Boyles in Tralee.
There is a completely refurbished white Aga, taken out, taken to Tipperary to H&F Enterprises, who then returned the “heart and hearth of the house” in gleaming, excellent working condition in the now open kitchen/breakfast room, with herringbone new flooring and units and tile.
Another heavy duty job performed was moving a very large steel safe from an alcove to a prime spot in a dresser/den/home office.
A remnant of the days when the safe would have been used by the superintendent to pay salaries and an important document, it had been left locked for decades (a century maybe?) in Dublin to open it.
With eager anticipation, they invited a small work crew and a few neighbors for the “big reveal,” which turned out to be a dank firecracker, since it was completely empty.
However, there was more joy in things like being able to preserve and repair the original intricate leaded, leaded and painted glass window at the return of the stairs, a perfect match for the panels on the front door with representations of birds, crafted by specialists. Glynn Palmer and recently reinstated in a gleaming place of honor.
The cost was assisted by a small grant arranged by Kerry County Council Heritage Officer Victoria McCarthy as the property is a listed structure and therefore no BER survey is needed or conducted.
The fully completed entity covers an area of 215 square meters or 2,300 square feet, with five rooms on the first floor emerging from a large central landing with a characteristic arch, and on the ground floor there are two front reception rooms with fireplaces, living room comfortable/rear living/study with fireplace, kitchen/dining room, utility/rear porch, guest toilet, and the property has fiber broadband and network services.
The Blue Flag beach is across the street and although the neighborhood is characterized more by holiday homes, there is a growing population throughout the year with main services in Waterville and Cahirciveen.
VERDICT: Fragment of the updated communication history on the Ring of Kerry, next to a beach.