WHEN it comes to hot property, Kinsale is on fire right now, as Travis Knight, heir to the Nike fortune, rides into town, having sealed the deal on a waterfront home that cost upwards of €4.5m.
The award-winning American animator has swooped to claim a prized piece of Kinsale property, forking out the third highest sum for a home in the picturesque West Cork town since 2010.
For his millions, Mr Knight and Irish wife Maryse Knight, will acquire a 5,000 sq ft five bed, seven bathroom property, for the kind of “Scilly” money that changes hands when you buy into Scilly – see the sale of nearby Raffeen last year, a re-modelled Georgian pearl on the water’s edge, which sold for €4.75m, on behalf of food entrepreneur Colum “Sully” O’Sullivan of Cully & Sully.
Nine months later, Constantia Farm on Compass Hill set a new record, when UK businessman Mel Bendon (MD of Glenmar Shellfish which sold to Lisavaird Co-op for a reported €10m in 2015) sold his home for €5.8m.
This time estate agent Johanna Murphy of Johanna Murphy & Sons, who has just launched a Country and Coastal Homes division, sealed the deal for close to the guide price of €5m, selling Ocean Breeze on behalf of a Corkman and veteran of the hospitality industry to the Knights, who intend to use it as a part-time home.
It is the third most expensive house sale in the stunning coastal town since 2010, according to the Property Price Register.
Mr Knight, son of Nike co-founder Phil Knight, is an animator, producer and director, whose studio, Laika Entertainment, is behind a string of hit children’s movies such as Bumblebee, ParaNorman and, more recently, Missing Link, which won a Bafta for Best Animated Feature Film.
The studio is also behind animated movie hits Coraline, The Box Trolls, Missing Links and Kubo and the Two Strings.
His interest in Ireland is linked to his Irish-born wife, Maryse Fitzpatrick, from Portlaise, Co Laois, who worked her way up through Public Relations and Event Management (first job was with Sony Computer Entertainment Ireland (Playstation)) to become International Publicity Director with Universal Pictures. Her role brought her into contact with a galaxy of Hollywood A-listers, from Tom Cruise to Meryl Streep to Tom Hanks.
Ms Murphy said the couple were smitten by Ocean Breeze from the first viewing.
“The minute they walked in they fell in love with the turnkey property. You are literally minutes from Kinsale town and what a vista! As I have said from the outset, when you go out on the balcony, it is like being on a cruise ship.”
The house, spread over three levels, has marble floors with tiles imported from Greece by the previous owner.
It also has a six-person lift and a fabulous sweeping staircase with glass balustrade.
One wing has a cavernous first floor living room with vaulted ceiling/dining/kitchen, with double doors to a long, south-facing balcony.
But the star turn is the voluminous top floor living/dining room, where four sets of French doors open onto another balcony.
A large guest suite on the lower floor is a self-contained unit and has access via French doors to the seaward-facing garden, which is a mix of patio and lawn.
Privacy is paramount at Ocean Breeze and it’s inside electric gates, behind a high wall, with a sophisticated camera-based security system.
Previously owned by the Goods, a well-known Kinsale family, with a history in livestock feed, who purchased the Trident Hotel in 1986, it was known as the Long Bungalow when the current vendor bought it in the mid-noughties. Having paid €1.2m for bungalow and prime site, he knocked the house and replaced it with Ocean Breeze.
He brought in Carrigaline-based Kieran J Barry & Associates, consulting engineers and architects, to design his new home, which Rose Construction built.
Kinsale, gateway to the Wild Atlantic Way, is a picture-postcard town with excellent gourmet credentials, a yacht marina and club and the exclusive Old Head Golf Course. It has a history of attracting celebrities, including the late Michael Jackson who stayed at Kinsale’s Ballincurra House, currently on the market for €6.35m.
Dubbed the Irish Riviera, Kinsale has the most expensive postcode in Ireland outside of Dublin, with 46 homes selling for upwards of €1m in the past dozen years.
Ms Murphy said over the past year her buyers have included Irish expats, UK-based residents and Americans.