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Irish Charm

This article was written by Jeanine Matlow and was featured in our November issue of Home By Design magazine. Photography by Unique Homestays. To visit the original Home By Design article and view more photos, click here.


Nestled in a remote lakeside townland in Glenbeigh, County Kerry, Ireland, the enchanting Lost Cottage has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Once home to a herd of goats, the scenic site now boasts an enticing rental property that blends modern amenities with old-world charm. The owner, who spent time in the area during family holidays, had been looking for a retreat when he found the perfect fit. “When the property at Treangarriv came up for sale with four old ruins and eighty acres, I jumped at the opportunity to buy it—even though people thought I was mad to want to buy ruins in an out-of-the-way location on the side of a mountain,” he says. “But for me, one couldn’t dream up a better location.”

His original intention was to make it a personal hideaway. But with a busy life and people’s interest in renting, he reached out to UK-based Unique Homestays. In the end, Lost Cottage became so popular that it remains a full-time rental property, while the owner lives in another house nearby.

Before it could reach rental standards, the existing structure had to be restored by stripping it down to the bones before rebuilding. It also needed electricity and water, now sourced from a local spring, along with an addition to make the home inhabitable. While the owner worked with conservation experts for the original cottage, he tapped Dublin-based architect Maxime Laroussi with Urban Agency for the addition. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the design and result of the extension,” he says.

A red iron roof defines the original, pre-1800 building, and the recent extension features Douglas fir. To keep the focus on the fluctuating landscape, the interiors were intentionally kept minimal and neutral like the white-washed walls made from lime and hemp. In turn, the furnishings and accents reflect the natural palette that surrounds the rental property.

Surplus Douglas fir became the perfect raw material for custom pieces that fill the house, such as tables, benches, headboards, beds, and shelves. “Practically everything in the cottage is bespoke,” says the owner, who had the sofas in the living room made for the space and to his specifications. “They have practically no sidearms, so as to avoid breaking up the room or blocking the view,” he says. “Both can be used as extra beds if needed.” A cozy stove adds comfort either way.

Between the well-appointed rooms and the spectacular sights beyond, from the rivers and lakes to mountains and more, guests might be hard-pressed to leave the premises. “On sunny days the view is like heaven; and even on the worst of days, it is fascinating to watch the kaleidoscope of weather passing across the valley,” he says.

With so much luscious drama outside, the cottage provides a calm oasis. Visitors can admire the views from the kitchen where a custom table and bench feature recycled Douglas fir and metal work by a local artisan. The lights above are from Japan, while an old French bistro fridge has a new life as a larder. Even the bathroom has luxe details, including skylights, a rain shower, and a sunken tub.

The main bedroom wows with a frameless window that blurs the lines between inside and out like no other. Remote blinds reveal the sun rising over Ireland’s highest mountain, Carrauntoohill, and guests can often catch a glimpse of wild goats that roam past the cottage. (Hence the goat statue in the bedroom, a clever gift from a relative.)

It’s no wonder people from around the globe praise the home and its owner through testimonials like one that said in part: “This property is extraordinary. The host is wonderful and provided impeccable recommendations, detailed excursions, delicious local specialities, and a generous welcome. He clearly has put his heart and soul into the property and into making each guest’s stay, however short, wonderful.” Perhaps the owner’s passion stems from his own definition of a retreat: “A place where peace comes looking for you.”

Known for its visual splendor, the village of Glenbeigh has plenty to see and do for those who like to explore all nature has to offer.

Outdoor Oasis. Often called “The Jewel in the Ring of Kerry,” Glenbeigh presents a tranquil destination for avid travelers and locals alike. From the long and lovely Rossbeigh Beach to the calming lakes and rivers, the unique locale has beauty galore.

Natural Habitat. A sweeping coastline, lush landscape, and heady mountain views make way for recreational pursuits including swimming, fishing, windsurfing, and sailing.

Rec Center. The circuit of the hills called the Glenbeigh Horseshoe is part of the Kerry Way, an expansive and popular hiking trail. Whether Lost Cottage guests want to go for a walk, play golf, or go hang gliding, Glenbeigh truly has something for every type of adventure seeker.