Beautiful vistas surround an upgraded traditional farmhouse located on a craggy promontory deep in West Cork, writes Tommy Barker.
Is it time to head to Toe?
The comfort of this upgraded holiday home, with aptly-judged wind-screen for the blowsier days just along the Wild Atlantic Way south of Skibbereen should tempt some to commit to the glorious geological and geographical delights of Toe Head.
The craggy promentory, near beaches, cliffs, wild walks up hill and down again for shelter, beach and Napoleonic era signal tower, is just a few miles from the sheltering Victorian village of Castletownshend.
In contrast, Toe Head has its own distinctive, rugged personality, a handful of permanent residences, favoured by artists and musicians among the more latter-day blow-ins, and some drop-dead gorgeous panoramas, all year round.
Toe Head’s high point is marked by a signal tower dating to the early 1800s, one of dozens designed to alert British rulers if French fleets came to threaten ‘their’ Irish coastline, a sentinel position it held for many years.
And, then, in 1986, Toe Head’s tower also was witness to a marine arrival on a far larger scale when the 900’ long iron ore bulk carrier the Hong Kong-registered Kowloon Bridge broke from moorings in a storm by Baltimore and was driven onto the notorious Stags Rocks which are outliers from Toe Head’s land-secured heights, in 70mph winds, and in 50’ wave swells.
The Kowloon Bridge disaster hit marine and wildlife hard, and now its rusted hulk is an occasional diving spot, while the seas above and around it are also popular for whale watching.
Safe and secure from all that maelstrom is this new-to-market Toe Head home, an upgraded and updated traditional West Cork farmhouse on two acres, with its clever sheltering gable end ‘walled courtyard’ (essentially, wind-break walls with window opes).
It also has a gable end, first floor balcony for essential bay, beach and ‘mainland’ views: that balcony is off the triple-aspect master bedroom, which has a shower in one corner.
Estate agent Sean Carmody of Charles P McCarthy guides the 1,240 sq ft extended three-bed home at €400,000, and says it’s in excellent condition, is set near the main beach on Toe Head, and has mature gardens, and a double garage.
Its main room is the core of the original house, about 22’ long and 13’ wide, with a stove set into an inglenook fireplace at one end, and there’s a staircase also prominent in the timber-floored room, with painted floor boards, with ceiling timbers and joists also exposed and painted.
Separately, there’s a tiled kitchen/dining room, next to a slate-floored back hall/porch with guest WC, and the property’s other, main entry hall is next to a sun room, with glazing on three sides and it has a solid, tiled roof.
The accompanying two acres, off a short access lane, is mostly paddock, and beaches almost on its Toe Head doorstep include Lickowen, Sandycove, Traharta and Tragumna.
The Price Register records just three Toe Head sales in recent years, at prices varying from €142,000 in 2014 to €285,000 at Lickowen, Toe Head in 2010.
A Toe Hold to hold onto, in a special, scenic Wild Atlantic Way setting close to Skibbereen.
Toe Head, West Cork
Size: 115 sq m (1,240 sq ft)