Is a €1.1m bungalow within your Compass?

There aren’t too many three bedroomed Irish bungalows come for sale with €1.1m price guides - but, then again, Knockrobin is in rather a special setting and in rather exalted company: we’re talking Compass Hill, Kinsale, and in one of its better perches too.

Dating to the early 1980s, Knockrobin’s a one-off, single-storey home tucked under the road on Compass Hill, just on the town side of the brow of the hill.

It’s one of Kinsale’s priciest stretches of real estate, probably sharing that honour with Ardbrack and Scilly, which it faces across the scenic harbour.

Despite having a clutch of €1m-plus sales, though, Compass Hill pretty much trails the sales successes of late at Arbrack and Scilly, with ‘just’ four sales at and above this level showing on the Price Register, and two of them were for the same house.

Ardcarrig, a large hillset Georgian semi-detached home 100 metres for Knockrobin on the town side, and shows again last January, at €1.79m.

And, among the other sales visible there is No 1 Ard Alainn, the first sale of twelve new, 3,500 sq ft houses to be built by David Kitt: the dozen were launched by Savills over a year ago, priced at €1.35m, pretty much a current record price ask for a Munster ‘scheme’ home, albeit in a top Kinsale setting.

Lauchinghe c 35-year old 1,850 sq ft Knockrobin, for its Irish owners who’ve been here since the 1980s, estate agent Johnny O’Flynn is confident of his €1.1m pricing, given the site size and setting.

It has the ‘full panorama’ view over the water, just upriver and high above the Trident Hotel, spanning the inner and outer harbours over James Fort, with marina, pier and Scilly Walk in the frame,and just about every botat that comes into or out of Kinsale will be espied from up here.

As it stands, it’s a perfectly fine home in most people’s book, with good quality living spaces, and one of its original four bedrooms has been made over to dressing room use, limiting it at present to ‘mere’ three-bed status.That’s easily enough reversed, say Sherry FitzGerald, who’ve just launched it to the open market this Bank Holiday weekend.

It’s well kept and presented, says Mr O’Flynn, saying it has “impeccable charm and character,” and who says a new owner “could just buy, move in and be perfectly happy for years before making any changes.”

But, design, and glazing options, and architectural elan and even planners’ willingness to embrace the new and the bold, has moved on quite a bit since the early 19890s, so it might not be any surprise to look back on this spot in a couple of short years time and to see something radically different to the Knockrobin of 2109.

Most dated within is probably the kitchen, with its original oak units and a partial link to a dining room with views.

Right now, it has the best of its three reception rooms through double doors off the main hall’s own entry point double doors by the back/entrance, with warm, honeyed-pine floor and ceiling plasterwork, while a central white marble fireplace at the end gable is flanked by tall corner windows either side, for tantalizing water and harbour views in several different directions – once you stand right up to them.

And, therein lies the rub, as such, of Knocrobin, it’s so much of the design ethos (and planners’ more cautious tastes) of earlier decades that you’d nearly want to knock out the walls to open up the standard format picture windows, and go floor-to-ceiling as much as possible and as much as permitted.

After all, there are examples galore of free rein given to highly glazed contemporary box architectural one-offs, across the way in Scilly (most recent top result? €2.55m) and Ardbrack, and in Summercove.

Heck, there are even a few good examples along this blessed,scenic stretch, on and off Compass Hill.

VERDICT: The house is good, but the site’s the star.

Compass Hill, Kinsale


Size: 172 sq m (1,850 sq ft) on 0.7 acre

Bedrooms: 3/4Bathrooms: 3BER: E1

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