Laois an Uisce, Lissaniska, Grange/Ardmore, County Waterford Price: €185,000 Bedrooms: 2 Bathrooms: 2 Size: 75 sq m/ 807.3 sq ft.
BER: Exempt Stamp Duty: €1,850.
Laois an Uisce, brought to market by Brian Gleeson is that quintessential, White O'Morn dream of a thatched cottage quietly presiding over a magnificent ocean view about 5km from the sterling silver beaches of Ardmore, on the borders of counties Cork and Waterford.
A rare vernacular find in comfortable, habitable condition, this low-walled, courtyard house was built in the townland of Lissaniska by the Lincoln family, former Lord Mayors of Cork, in the late 1840s. It has changed hands only once in over a century and a half.
A survey in 1990 recorded just 13 thatched houses in the Grange/Ardmore parish – an uncertain number still wear their straw or reeds today.
The cottage is reached by a short boreen and nestles on 1.4 acres surrounded by farmland, with its focus out to sea. Two quaint paddocks cloak the back of the house offering rich old sward, with dense natural boundaries taming the coastal winds.
The gardens looking out from Mine Head to Youghal Harbour across Capel Island and Ardmore are bounded by a courtyard – important heritage detailing often lost with development of these vulnerable buildings.
The roof with its swelling gables and wide sheltering eaves is a simple, truly Irish form. Long, low, one-pile (room) wide, the whitewashed house with its rubble-stone buildings is listed and has been sympathetically renovated, retaining its 19th-century floor-plan and many original features.
Entered under the wide sweep of thatch through an internal draught porch (it was once direct entry), the ceilings are in excellent condition, allowing access to the thatch through several hatches – vital for your thatcher’s annual survey.
There are two bedrooms set at either end of the house, with a sitting-room and hearty kitchen at the home’s centre, lit by tightly engineered, double-glazed, timber casement windows. The room has a suitably accrued period style, in painted pine country cabinetry. The master bedroom includes a rare en-suite and views to the south and west - the roomy single served by a family bathroom.
The cottage’s inglenook fireplace has been preserved and the 19th-century bellows and crane remain. Sensibly, there is now a wood-burning stove to back up the gas-fire central heating throughout the house. Self-sufficient, there’s your own well and septic tank.
There’s one long building for the main house set on a plinth, and two bothies. The largest is set at 45 degrees at one corner and invites linking on in a wing - if you can find an architectural answer to satisfy the conservation officer. The cobbled floor of the bothies also survive, and defining the garden and haggard, the complex of outbuildings offer status to the property, once anchor to a larger farm.
Such cottages are a boutique buy – increasingly celebrated for their local originality, continuity of settlement and architectural importance. Far from being atrophied in a John Hinde postcard, they can be retrofitted with appropriate breathing materials including hemp plasters to achieve remarkable energy efficiencies.
This treasure, close to the celebrated towns of Ardmore and Dungarvan and just 11km east of Youghal (dripping in history and nautical activities) is situated on a sleek 40-minute conduit to Cork. It would make an incomparable second home or homestead for an imaginative commuter looking for a sturdy smallholding and intact example of our authentic rural heritage.
Verdict: Ideal for an imaginative commuter.