In Hot Water in Ballymaloe: Hot tub adds to An Teachín's assets

In Hot Water in Ballymaloe: Hot tub adds to An Teachín's assets

Shanagarry, Co Cork


Size: 80 sq m (861 sq ft)


Bathrooms: 1


There’s a whole lot of lifestyle on offer at this modest little bungalow right across the parkland from Ballymaloe Country House.

There’s proximity to Ballymaloe itself and its increasingly popular entertainment venue, the Grainstore.

From this weekend, there’s another venue to choose from, formerly St Coleman’s, now Sea Church, in nearby Ballycotton, Cork’s newest live music destination, with Lisa Hannigan performing at a sold-out gig over the weekend.

Then there are all those beaches within cycling distance, like Garryvoe, Ballycotton and Ballinora Strand.

“It’s all about the lifestyle here,” says the current owner of “An Teachín” and he should know, having embraced it 100%.

“An Teachín” with an address of Ballyduff, comes to market with Robert O’Keefe of Irish & European Auctioneers not because the owners have maxed out on the attractions of East Cork, but because of a job offer.

“My wife has a new job, in the direction of West Cork, and I work in the same direction. To be honest, I don’t want to leave here, but it just makes sense to move closer to where we work,” he says.

They bought An Teachín in 2013. The man of the house has a job that is largely office-based, but says his head “is outside” in the great outdoors, most of the time.

In Hot Water in Ballymaloe: Hot tub adds to An Teachín's assets

He loves a challenge and spent three years, along with his wife, transforming what was “a wreck” into a very snug and lovely nest, which they moved into in 2016.

He spent just as much time on the garden, once a dense mesh of head-high brambles, now home to a pergola, two little ponds specifically designed to cater for wildlife, an original parish pump and carefully thought out planting.

Because the area is rife with wildlife, he generally allows the grass to grow good and high in one third of the almost-acre that is his back garden.

“I rotate the high grass every season. The land is low-lying and the wildlife is very exposed.

The animals have nowhere to hide, so they love the long grass. We see pheasants, hedgehogs and there’s a fox.

“And there’s also great pondlife, frogs mostly, voles too. But what I love most about the garden is the birdsong, you can hear the birds singing here all of the time.” There are also apple trees (one was uncovered beneath those head-high brambles and never fails to yield) and the same brambles remain down one side of the garden for their gift of blackberries.

“I get two or three harvests every year and I make plenty of jam because I love cooking,” he says.

The owner also loves the six person hot tub he installed out the back and which he uses religiously “five or six nights” a week, as a way of unwinding, when he’s not surfing at one of those nearby beaches, or cycling along the back roads that run through this handsome stretch of East Cork.

In Hot Water in Ballymaloe: Hot tub adds to An Teachín's assets

And in keeping with his outdoorsy nature, he also installed a well-sequestered patio, with perspex canopy, LED lighting and heaters so that even when the elements are against him, dining al fresco is still possible.

An Teachín and its gardens have been quite a project. What was an outdoor bathroom is now a tool shed although it can be re-converted to an outside toilet because the plumbing is there. This shed is accessed through a fireman-red front door - the original front door of the house.

All of the inside doors in An Teachín are salvaged.

“I took them down door-by-door and each got 11 coats of paint,” the owner says.

He also installed a stove in the original fireplace and the house has an all-new heating system, new electrics, all new concrete insulated floors and new windows. The heating system is zoned - to heat different parts of the house when required - and a combi boiler means the owners are “only on our second tank of oil” since they moved in.

One of the loveliest features of the house is a sun-room, added on by the incumbents, with a gorgeous view of that fine chunk of garden and its wild and the vibrant little lives.

An Teachín has three bedrooms, (one has been hijacked as a wardrobe), a new bathroom and small hallway with Victorian tiles. A cosy living room opens onto the sunroom and backs onto a galley kitchen.

In Hot Water in Ballymaloe: Hot tub adds to An Teachín's assets

Although the owner likes cooking, the option of eating at Ballymaloe is on his doorstep.

“They’re great over in Ballymaloe,” he says. “And it’s so convenient to us. They had a Blacktie night there recently (Ballycotton RNLI Annual Gala Dinner) and we were all dressed up like the cast of Downton Abbey.

“Herself went in high heels and changed into her wellies for the short walk home.” The ties with Ballymaloe are strong. The owner says 13 people once lived in An Teachín and he reckons most of them probably worked in the Ballymaloe demesne. He has heard that flowers from An Teachín were used to decorate the tables over in the Big House.

Having submerged themselves utterly in East Cork living (and not just in the hot tub), they are leaving with heavy heart.

“I think the property would make a very good starter home,” says the owner, “ or it could be a nice place to retire to.” Equally, given the growing popularity of East Cork (BBC presenter Vanessa Feltz bought a house in Ballycotton in 2018), it could appeal to the overseas market as a holiday home.

In Hot Water in Ballymaloe: Hot tub adds to An Teachín's assets

Or a family might decide to buy given the property has plenty scope to extend and the lifestyle on offer is especially tempting.

As the owner says: “You come home after a day’s work and you head outside, and after a couple of hours, you’re a new man.”

VERDICT: Not a buy likely to land you in hot water

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