Ocean front house with 360 degree views
Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo Click Image to Open Gallery


In 2008 M&M were presented with the opportunity to build an ocean front house for Dara Montague on a fantastic site near the village of Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo. Planning had already being granted for the demolition of an existing bungalow and the construction of a new four bedroomed house on two levels. Because of the steeply sloping site the planners had given permission for a one story structure facing the road over a basement. While the foot print of the house was about the same as the original building, the floor area had been doubled with the addition of the extra level. The house is arranged so that the free plan living area is located on the ground floor while the cellular bedrooms, plant room and private spaces are in the lower level facing away from the road.

The dramatic coastline, glimpses of rocks and waves up to 15 metres high are framed by the floor to ceiling windows. A sliding patio door leads from the dining area onto a red cedar balcony which is designed in the shape of the prow of a ship. The balcony, supported by two large beams extends to create a large covered patio leading from the downstairs bedrooms. Externally the house is finished with a painted nap plaster while the roof is clad with natural slates which have been nailed and hooked as this is a very exposed location. Energy efficiency is achieved by using 200mm of Rockwool between the rafters, Kooltherm cavity wall and floor insulation, double glazed windows and the geo-thermal heating system which is a “horizontal loop system” located in the back garden. The chimney on the south gable services an open fire on the ground floor as well as a wood burning stove in the lower level. A set of sparrow picked limestone steps leads up to the main entrance while a gently sloping ramp also gives access via the raised patio at the front of the house.

The main internal feature is the curved “staff ceiling” which was designed and built by master craftsman Joel Pressie. Curved sections were cast on site using (materials details) and after been fitted all joints were skimmed and sanded to give a seamless curved structure. A high spec. interior fit out was provided by Jeil xxx which included wooden floors, wooden wall panels, stairs and the Jacuzzi. The plant room houses a rainwater harvesting tank and the Ground Source Heat Pump for the geo- thermal heating system. Worked started in July 2008 with the removal of the asbestos slates on the existing house by a licensed contractor prior to its demolition and the new build was completed by February 2009 despite having a very wet Summer and Autumn.


There is nothing flimsy about this contemporary home. Set in one of the harshest and exposed locations in Ireland the house is built to last. Winds in excess of 100 mph and corrosion from the sea air had to be taken into consideration in the selection of all materials and the methods in which they were employed. Five years on after enduring two of the coldest Winters on record plus numerous Atlantic storms the house is as good as the day it was built.


High winds, constant humidity and wind driven rain, not to mention salt water means that materials that are commonly used inland may not be suitable for a coastal or near coastal location. Take the time to make sure that all flashings, timber, doors, windows, sealants and even stainless steel railings are suitable and have been tested for a maritime environment. Marine grade stainless, or SAE 316 stainless steel is the type that should be specified for all exposed metal work near the coast.