Hollywood A-lister couple Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick are expected back in Donegal in the New Year as builders put the final touches to their new-look holiday retreat.
The couple have turned what was once a humble cottage in the rugged countryside of Kilcar into a stunning modern hideaway.
The homestead, which was bought by Broderick’s family more than 40 years ago, was a series of outhouses surrounding a small cottage in the townland of Roelough.
But a Dublin-based architectural firm has given it a new lease of life.
All parts of the development are now linked and much of the exterior of the holiday home is clad in wood to help it blend in with the natural countryside.
Traditional hand-built, dry-stone walls surrounding the house have also remained untouched.
The couple received planning permission for their new house design back in 2015 but have only started the development this summer.
Now after six months of development, which included a new slate roof to the original cottage, the building is almost complete.
The new design boasts four bedrooms, a den, living area, a new kitchen complete with courtyard linking the old and new designs.
The architects for the new design which also boasts a corrugated roof and traditional sash windows are Dublin-based company Donaghy and Dimond of Francis Street.
The planning application states “This cottage and outbuildings belongs to a family with a residence in this place for more than forty years. The cottage has been kept with its surrounding outbuildings and ‘gardens’ and meadows around the house.
“They wish to continue this tradition from one generation to the next by conserving the original and upgrading the existing accommodation.
“The plan is to give a new lease of sustainable life to this homestead.”
The huge renovation suggests that the Brodericks could be spending a lot more time in their Donegal hideaway in the coming years.
SJP, hubby Matthew and their children spent a number of weeks at the house at the start of last summer.
The couple were spotted in various parts of the county including Donegal Town and Ardara.
SJP even took to Instagram to post a picture of herself and her family, including son James and their seven-year-old twins Marion and Tabitha doing a one thousand piece jigsaw on a rainy afternoon.
She also posted pictures of visiting a library and having tea and brown bread.
And in her farewell Instagram post, the actress wrote of all that she will miss about Donegal and Ireland.
The list includes turf fires, skylines, local Donegal tweed and the “open smiles” of locals.
However, SJP also writes about her love of Irish food including lamb cutlets, spuds and Kerrygold butter!
Her posting read “Farewell sultry and fickle skies
“Farewell plumes of smoke from chimneys
“Farewell ranges emitting the earthy and welcoming smell of turf
“Farewell chips and tweed and open smiles
“Farewell “marked bags”, lamb cutlets and kerrygold
“Farewell to the most perfect spuds in all the world. Flowery or waxy. I will miss you most of all.
The post has been liked by more than 82,000 of her 4.5 million followers on Instagram.
The house belongs to SJP’s husband Broderick whose family bought it many years ago.
He said he is so thankful to his parents for putting the money together to buy their Irish holiday getaway.
“My parents bought a place there when I was about eight. And my sisters and I have inherited it and I’ve taken my kids. It’s up near Killybegs and Kilcar.”
“Donegal, it’s unbelievable. It gave me a whole new childhood in a way. I grew up in New York City, I was born and raised here, so the fact that my parents managed to put the money together to get us there was a great gift to us.
“You know the landscape, the hiking but it’s also the people there that I grew up knowing. Real farmers who worked the hay in the summer and milked cows. I really, really got to know my neighbours and that just doesn’t happen in the same way here in the U.S. We just really felt welcomed there. It’s another culture, a wonderful place.”
Broderick says most locals in Donegal knew him long before he found fame through acting.
“People would say it’s special because of the sea air. I remember how deeply I would sleep there. It was so quiet, the smell of the turf fires, and the hay. I used to love helping with the hay,” he said of his childhood days in Donegal.
“Most of the people in Donegal knew me long before I was an actor. But even since then they don’t talk that much about it, which is very nice. My wife still gets it, some people’s eyes pop out of their head when she walks around but not our neighbours.”Tags: