Kilmichael Old Coastguard Station


 Kilmichael, Co. Wexford'The real beauty is the location: you often wake up to find six or seven seals outside, and on a clear day you can see for miles'

 Jim Manning tells us "I first came across this place 5 years ago. It was a terrace of six almost derelict houses but the location was so spectacular , standing guard over the whole coast, that I decided to find out who owned it. I tracked it down to Dominic Kelly, in England. He didn't want to sell but he realised there was no point letting the terrace fall into further ruin, so I struck a deal with him over the phone. I promised him a small sum for the property and we agreed that I would restore all six houses and hand over one of the refurbished terraces to Dominic to use as a holiday home"

To finance his project, Canning brought in his daughter and four friends. The six partners put forward the money to refurbish, while Canning oversaw the work personally. Cannings biggest worry was that local planners would derail his attempts to reinstate the ruins. "I was pleasantly surprised and we got nothing but encouragement from Wexford County Council. Thankfully, they're enthusiastic about anyone tackling a ruin"
Canning, who was the man behind the House of James group of shops, but who now pursues DIY property development full-time, is hoping that the sale of the master house at Kilmichael Point will recoup the group's expenditure.
"We're each going to keep one of the smaller terraced houses as holiday homes, while selling the master house should leave us with some profit. I recently bought a house nearby, and an old barn in France, so any money I make will go towards their refurbishment," he said.

Jim Canning is not the first person to discover this coastal retreat. Inhabited by the British Army during the first world war and burnt by the IRA during the War of Independence, this is its second significant refurbishment.
In the 1950's the former British Ambassador to Argentina and Moscow, Sir David Kelly and his wife, Marie-Noel Kelly, retired to County Wexford, renovating and settling in Kilmichael Point. The globe-trotting diplomat's memoirs were later published to popular acclaim.


Reference; The Sunday Times. April 20, 2003.

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