A gem on Clonakilty's golden mile

Tommy Barker finds a gem ’twixt town and shops, sand dunes and golden beaches, each within a walk of Clonakilty. 

Inchydoney Road, Clonakilty - €675,000

Size: 208 sq m (2,250 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 4

Bathrooms: 3

BER: B3

If this Inchydoney Road one-off home, within a walk of Clonakilty town and overlooking the tidal waters of the bay, looks easy on the eye, it’s not entirely coincidental: owner/vendor Simon Hill is a globe-trotting designer of award-winning exhibitions, and a photographer whose work has graced the pages of National Geographic, the Sunday Times, and the Observer.

His work also graces the worktops of this West Cork home, as he’s also a specialist in food photography, working with clients around Ireland and the UK. Wearing his ‘designer’ hat, he has a media company that works on cultural projects, among them most recently at Spike Island with 1,300 years of history in the middle of Cork harbour and which at the start of October won a gong as Europe’s leading tourist attraction at the World Travel Awards 2017.

Mr Hill, who has also lived in Dingle and moved to Clonakilty just three years ago with his wife Harriet, has worked on interactive exhibitions for Kilmainham in Dublin, on Waterford’s Museum of Treasures, and on Spike Island.

Oh, and it was when working on the Michael Collins museum on Clonakilty’s Emmet Square that “we fell in love with Clonakilty,” he says. With all of the travel, it’s sort of a local imprimatur that he chose to relocate to Clonakilty several years ago, and picked up this visually impressive, and substantially built 2,300 sq ft confection, on an acre, above the road to the causeway-linked Inchydoney Island, another world-beating location.

Now, after only a few years in residence, after many upgrades and enhancements and having been able to use it as a work base as well as a home, it’s time to move on, with career relocation prospects beckoning elsewhere in Ireland, as well as in Iceland and the UK. It’s for sale with estate agent Andy Donoghue of Hodnett Forde who guides the four-bed on an acre at €675,000.

After a stint in Dingle that clearly also had an impact, the Hills have rechristened their Clonakilty home Radharc an Chuain, or Harbour View.

It is pitched as one of the more expensive homes in the hinterland, coming along in low selling season too. But, taking the upbeat approach, Mr Donoghue notes that Hodnett Forde have just very recently gone ‘sale agreed’ on a contemporary, one-off home by the exemplary Dunmore House Hotel, just west of Clon, for over the property’s revised €550,000 asking price. That sale was of Sea Haven, a contemporary reworking of a once-tiny cottage, on a spectacular site between road and ocean, swollen to c 2,200 sq ft under a series of roofs, some of them copper clad.

Not only did it get bid to close to €600k, but some of the bidders only wanted it for holiday home use. Now, Radharc an Chuain hasn’t the exposed, dramatic setting of that other HF agreed sale, but its acre and location is still likely to be one of the best in and around Clon, ’twixt town and shops, dunes and golden beaches, all within a walk.

A mile or so off as the gull flies, and overlooked by a top hotel and spa is Inchydoney beach, which regularly wins awards as one of Ireland’s very best and most beautiful strands; on the ‘back’ of Inchydoney island, work has been ongoing for several years on the former period Inchydoney House; it was sold by a religious order in 2013 at a Hodnett Forde auction for €700,000, on several acres, and shows on the Register at €650,000 on an acre. It had been used by the order for beach holidays, and has been the centre of an enormous further investment, likely to have driven overall costs towards, or indeed over, €2m.

In contrast to that whopper of an investment, this is a walk-in purchase, turnkey and in pristine order: Mr Donoghue says it was “significantly and recently improved by the current owners in a truly modern style.”

Rather than cramming in lots of rooms upstairs and down, the reordering sees four useful first floor bedrooms remain, one with en suite plus main family bathroom, with atmospheric lighting and a free-standing double ended contemporary bath; but at ground, it’s really only a two-roomed home. But, what rooms (actually, there’s a third, if you count the utility to the back off the kitchen which at 18’ by nearly 9’ is as big as many other homes’ living rooms.).

Scene-stealer and scene setter is the curved, almost wrap-around kitchen/dining/family room, up to 30’ by 30’ at its maximum measurement across both legs of the ‘L’, with a vaulted veiling in the curve, which houses four Velux roof lights to bathe the area in light – grist to the mill, in any case, for a photographer, and its appears this kitchen has been used for food photo-shoots too, so it literally has worked for its living on several fronts.

It has a large kitchen island, and a capacious selection of extensive range of units top and bottom, has two Neff ovens set low in the island, dishwasher and Neff induction hob, Silestone worktops, wine chiller, and a custom surround for a American-style fridge freezer.

Flooring is pale porcelain, and the room is heated underfoot, whilst also having a feature wood burning stove tucked around the corner between the dining and family/library seating section with back wall of bookcases. French doors allow access to a west-facing patio and to the detached lofted garage.

Across the other side of this house is a double-aspect sitting room, some 20’ by 16’ with limed oak floor, coved ceilings and a multi-fuel stove set in an alcove with over-mantle for display; the ground floor accommodation is rouned off by a central hall, with guest WC, and doors are in oak.

Externally, there’s a long, uphill sloping drive, lawns, pasture and meadow section and landscaping on newly created tiers that include pampas, grasses, ferns and tree ferns, as well as mature boundaries, a two-storey garage, patio/BBQ area, and there are water glimpses from the land.

VERDICT: On Clon’s Golden Mile

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