Two distinct riverside properties — Swallow Lodge and Jack’s Cottage — serve up a real slice of rural heaven, writes Trish Dromey.
THE tranquil setting of Swallow Lodge and Jack’s Cottage on the banks of the River Blackwater in West Waterford seems almost too idyllic to be real.
The two very disparate properties — one an attractive New England-style timber-frame house and the other a photogenic traditional thatched cottage — share both a scenic three-quarters-of-an-acre site at Aglish near Cappoquin as well as a guide price of €485,000.
The joint arrival on the market of two such distinctive properties is likely to prompt viewers to wonder why they are being sold together and to ask how they got their names.
The explanation is that the owners fell in love with the riverside setting 23 years ago and ending up buying two separate properties instead of the one holiday rental cottage they had come to look at.
So smitten were they with the site, that they sold their home and built an almost-3,400sq ft Cygnum timber-framed property around the old stone cottage they had originally planned to turn in to a tourist rental.
“We called it Swallow Lodge because when we first got there the telephone lines between the two cottages were lined with swallows,’’ reveals the owner.
The second property — the thatched one which is closer to the river, had been Jack’s Cottage for many years when they found it. “Jack was a fisherman on the river — nine generations of his family had lived there,’’ says the owner who has been told by locals in the past Jack’s family would have used the river not the road to travel upstream to Cappoquin or downstream to Youghal.
When they owners found it in 1997, the thatched cottage had been recently occupied so they were able to rethatch, repaint and redecorate it for rental fairly quickly.
Because of the thatch, the prettiness and the setting, they say renting it has always been easy. “We have bookings from April to October every year and sometimes for Christmas. We have had guests from all over the world.”
Upgrading over the years, they put in a rolltop bath in the bathroom and fitted a new kitchen but were careful to maintain the original character and features.
Painting the exterior a pretty shade of pale pink, they planted masses of cottage garden flowers around it.
Additional features, which are popular with guests, include a timber jetty on the river where the owners keep a boat as well as a timber structure by the riverbank which is a “hide” used for observing wildlife.
The construction of Swallow Lodge, the large four-bed timber-framed house, was a fairly major undertaking which took two years to complete.
Once the frame was built and the Scandinavian double glazing went it, “we did a lot of the internal work ourselves”, says the owner adding that she and her husband, who is an artist, had worked on several renovations before.
They chose the New England-style frame because it blended well with the wooded landscape around it. Inside the frame at the front, there are two roosm from the original cottage, a sitting room and a bedroom.
In the new section, the house has a spacious open-plan living room-cum-kitchen which overlooks the river through a row of high windows flanking a set of French doors.
“It’s on a sloping site so we are looking down over the roof of Jack’s Cottage on to the water,” reveals the owner.
The large pine floored room has a painted timber ceiling, a pair of timber pillars and a galley kitchen with pale grey units and integrated appliances. Next to the living room is a large conservatory with a hot tub, a sauna and a shower.
In the original section at the front there’s a bedroom as well as a sitting room which has a traditional fireplace with a fire crane.
The newer part of the house has a laundry room, a bathroom and an en-suite bedroom at ground level.
A stairs from the open-plan living area leads up to a galleried landing. At the front, looking out on the river, is a master bedroom with a large decked balcony.
There’s also a library/study with fitted bookshelves, a shower room and a generous-sized room which is currently being used as an artist’s studio but could be a bedroom.
At the rear, facing the river alongside the conservatory, Swallow Lodge has a large decked patio.
Jack’s Cottage is a three-bed single-storey property with a traditional sitting room which has a wood-burning stove in its original fireplace.
There’s also a kitchen with painted units, a utility area, and a bathroom with timber wainscoting and three bedrooms with brass beds.
There’s an annex which used to be a windowless storage area which the owners used as a second bathroom and a second sitting room.
In the grounds around the two cottages there are masses of flowers and shrubs and numerous trees as well every type of feature an idyllic rural property should have, including a henhouse and a chicken run.
There’s also a glasshouse, a polytunnel, a vegetable garden, fruit trees, old outhouses and stables, a timber workshop and a hammock for relaxing. “From the hide near the riverbank you can watch the otters,” says the owner adding that the local wildlife also includes buzzards and owls as well as swallows.
Selling agents REA Spratt describe the Blackwater valley setting of the two properties as magical “almost like another world”.
Located four kilometres from Aglish village and 12 from Cappoquin, they are accessed by a long meandering laneway off a road in Dromore.
Interest has come from the UK and Ireland and auctioneer Eamon Spratt says they are getting viewing from people who had enjoyed staying in Jack’s Cottage so much that they are now thinking of buying.
VERDICT: Almost impossibly idyllic.
Aglish, West Waterford
Size: 1,300 sq ft + 3,390 sq ft
Bedrooms: 2 + 4
bathrooms: 2 + 3
BER: G and D2