Australian Ward Stevens first saw Easkey House, a 1830s six-bedroom regency pile overlooking Easkey bay in County Sligo, while he was paddling the break in the 1990s.
Ward, who had initially come to Ireland to visit his brother, but ended up staying for the quality of for Sligo’s surf, was fascinated by the domineering building despite its crumbling condition.
He immediately fell in love with the house and its location – situated just off the Wild Atlantic Way and offering stellar views out over one of Ireland’s best stretches of surfing coast.
As soon as I got upstairs and looked at the view, I didn’t care
He made an offer which was finally accepted accepted nearly two years later in 2002. As the sale was in process, the house was succumbing to the elements and slowly becoming a ruin, but Stevens saw great potential for the property.
“As soon as I got upstairs and looked at the view, I didn’t care,” he told The Sunday Times. “The house has uninterrupted views of Sligo bay and one of Europe’s best surf breaks.”
So Stevens spent 10 years renovating the house, rebuilding it from the ground up. He had a love for restoration thanks to his father, who was a conservation architect. However when the recession hit, he struggled to sell the house, and ended up staying in Ireland for 20 years.
“I thought the house would be a nice little project for a few years, and in 2007 I was going to sell it. Then all of a sudden the crash came,” he told The Sunday Times. “But I was lucky. If I’d left then I would have missed living in the west of Ireland.”
However the extra years gave him the chance to restore the house to its full potential and now he’s ready to sell it himself. He’s put the ambitious price tag of €1.85 million (around £1.63m) on it, believing the location beside the popular surf spot will attract a surf lover to buy the house. Along with all the work he’s put in, he reckons it’s well worth that price.
“I’ve never been in a hurry to sell because the right buyer will turn up. I’ve spent nearly 14 years doing up this house and I’ve saved future buyers 14 years of work,” he told The Sunday Times.
Lead image: Easky House photo Steve Rogers