Trish Dromey finds a close neighbour link with movie director Neil Jordan in this picture-perfect Beara setting.
After he sold his last West Cork home to film director Neil Jordan, the owner of Heron Cottage in Beara set about creating “a perfect cottage in a perfect seafront location”.
On an adjoining wooded site of over two and a half acres with extensive sea frontage, a private beach and panoramic views of Beara Island and Castletownbere Harbour, he built this attractive stone-faced dormer property.
Heron Cottage’s Dutch owner has had a 40-year love affair with West Cork.
“In the 1980s, my father and mother sold an elevator company in Holland, and said they wanted to find the nicest place on earth,” says the owner’s son.
He explains that they originally bought nearby Waterfall House, a large period property on nine or ten acres.
In the 1990s, when they decided to downsize, they sold their sizable waterfront home to Neil Jordan but divided up the site and kept a little over two and a half acres with water frontage so they could build their perfect cottage.
They used a Dutch architect who lived in West Cork, but wanted a traditional Irish property with natural stone frontage, says the son, adding that the windows, which would allow them to look out on the sea, were seen as a hugely important design feature.
“It was the views and the sea that my parents loved most,” he says, adding that all the family, especially the grandchildren, have happy memories of swimming off the beach “even when the water was cold”.
Although the owners were downsizing when they built the three-bed property, it’s quite a bit bigger than the average traditional cottage, with almost 2,100 sq ft of living space.
Accessed by a long private laneway winding down through the woodland from the main road, the cottage is on an elevated site overlooking the harbour.
A pathway with steps leads from the back of the property down through the gardens to a stony beach and an area of rocky foreshore.
Denis Harrington of Harrington auctioneers who is guiding Heron Cottage at €795,000 says this is a very carefully-crafted property.
“When he was selecting his site, my client chose the best waterfront cove in the estate and began planting it, in advance of building, with over a thousand deciduous trees including oak and ash.”
The décor in the interior has, in keeping with the traditional style of the property, been kept simple.
Most of the ground floor has been given over to open-plan living space, which includes a sunroom at the side which was added on shortly after the cottage was built.
In the centre of the property is a timber-floored kitchen/diner with a huge bay window with views of the sea and Bere Island. At one side, this room has a kitchenette with modern white units and, at the other, it opens out into a spacious living room which has a fireplace and patio doors opening in to the garden as well as two archways in to the sun room.
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The ground floor also has a utility room and an en-suite carpeted bedroom at the front of the house with a door to the garden.
The upper floor has a bathroom and two additional bedrooms, one at each end of the house.
At a short distance from the property off the long driveway, there is a detached garage with stone fronting and decorative green fascia boards which match the house perfectly.
The gardens are mostly wooded and wild — although there is a patio for sitting out behind the property, where a small number of hydrangea bushes have been planted.
Because of its wooded seclusion, the site is a haven for wildlife, including small animals and birds, while a range of sea creatures can be spotted from the house and from the shoreline.
“Otters are regular visitors and seals and dolphins can also be seen,” says Mr Harrington.
Located a little over 5km east of Castletownbere, Heron Cottage is 14km from the Dzogchen Beara, a Buddhist retreat centre which is situated further west along the Beara peninsula.
Interestingly, the entrance to Heron Cottage is just 200m or a three-minute walk from the entrance to the owner’s previous home, Waterfall House, now owned by Neil Jordan.
“Heron Cottage is within a short walking distance of Berehaven Lodge and is just 400m from Berehaven Golf Club,” says Mr Harrington, observing that the Wild Atlantic Way is particularly glorious on the Beara Peninsula.
“This property is unique because of its seclusion, its extensive water frontage, and its stunning sea views. You could not get planning permission to build anything in this location now,” says Mr Harrington, who has already booked appointments with interested UK buyers and is expecting international interest.
The Company of Wolves meets Beara’s best. May be secluded and scenic enough to attract another celebrity buyer?
Beara, West Cork/
Size: 194 sq m ( 2,100 sq ft)