Tommy Barker hears how events long ago and far away sculpted the shoreline near this West Cork cottage.
There would be a great ocean view from this diminutive Long Strand home called Castlefreke Cottage — if it hadn’t been for the devastation wreaked in 1755, by the Great Lisbon Earthquake, and the tsunamis which it unleashed.
Giant waves radiated out after that Lisbon event, some 120km offshore in the Atlantic, reaching places as far away as much of the north African coast, as well as Barbados, Brazil, Cornwall, and Sweden.
And, right in the path of some enormous rollers was Ireland’s south west coast: the pounding of the giant waves so stirred the sea beds, that ridges of sand dunes were created in West Cork and Kerry, across numerous beaches and estuaries.
Case in point was Long Strand, a mile-long coastal glory by Castlefreke and Rathbarry, a short spin from both Rosscarbery and Clonakilty, and given the 1755 date, the tsunami pretty much predated any houses, be they castles or cottages in this hinterland.
Likely to have been built in the mid 1900s, a safe 200 year after, Castlefreke Cottage, is a compact 700 sq ft home, on a site of near half an acre, sheltered from the prevailing winds and waves (and views), and it adjoins an old, restored lodge to the Castlefreke Castle estate, and a coastguard service hut, within 500m of a Coillte forest and walks.
It’s back for sale with Clonakilty estate agent Martin Kelleher with a €190,000 asking price, and he says it’s his third time selling it. It appeared in these pages before, too, the last time back around 2005/2006, Mr Kelleher recalls “because that it how the owner came across it — reading the Examiner on a train to Dublin and she saw this house on the supplement and went for it.”
Since then, they’ve upgraded insulation, and did the up the bathroom and kitchen.
Mr Kelleher describes it as “instantly appealing”.
“It would be difficult to find a better coastal location being only a hundred metres from the glorious Long Strand beach — which is one of Ireland’s premier surfing destinations,” he says.
And, he adds it’s within a few minutes’ walk of the beachside cafe, the Fish Basket, which has leased the former Puffin Cafe plot. On the beach’s sheltered western bend, and despite the raw, elemental winter months, the rebooted food and cafe business has taken off hugely, aided by a dune-gifted setting on the Wild Atlantic Way.
VERDICT: What a setting.
Long Strand, Clonakilty
Size: 65 sq m (700 sq ft)