Summer lovin’, where we had a blast.... how teenage love lead to more than cúpla focail, cois farraige at Knockadoon in East Cork Catherine Shanahan reports.
IT’S where short-lived romances and life-long friendships began, at Coláiste Cúram in Knockadoon, where teens gathered annually for total immersion in the mother tongue, Gaeilge.
From years past, two such smitten teens are now grandparents living in Canada, because their romance was not short-lived.
Before settling overseas three decades ago, they lived for a number of years in Knockadoon with a young family, one of whom developed a great ‘grá’ for this stunning windswept headland at the western tip of Youghal Bay.
Even though she emigrated with her family to Canada at the age of 12, the ‘grá’ never left her and she returned to Cnoc an Dúin with her Canadian husband over a decade ago where they built a new house on a glorious site near the old family home.
Two children later, and with siblings and parents all overseas, the pull of family is too strong and she’s packing up once again to return to Toronto, Ontario, somewhat reluctantly leaving behind the enviable and effervescent seascapes on view from her kitchen window.
“We always came back here in the summers when I was growing up and it was such an idyllic childhood.
“When I met my husband he came back here on holidays and he loved it too. But when we had kids, I was lonesome for my parents,” she says.
Her parents have been to and fro over the years, making use of the immaculate and well-laid out granny flat she included in the house build, specifically to cater for family visits.
The house itself, on c1.4 acres, is timber frame, a Canadian influence, with a block layer on the outside.
“We found a builder that had lived and worked in the US and he knew about timber frame houses,” she says.
That influence continues indoors to the open plan layout of the house, with its great sense of space and light, starting in the hallway which flows effortlessly into the kitchen and dining area, both of which have steps down to the double height family room. From here, French doors lead out to the rear where the land sweeps upwards in a lush arc towards Knockadoon Head.
Filling the vista to the right is the sea, sparkling between showers, with Capel Island, Oileán an Cháplaigh, in the near distance, home to an incomplete 19th century lighthouse, a colony of cormorants, a couple of rare migrants (avian) and a feral population of goats.
The owner of the house knows these headlands like the back of her hand and makes great use of the developing and developed clifftop walks.
Active local residents in Knockadoon and other East Cork villages, such as Ballymacoda and Ladysbridge, have been instrumental in the development of Capel Way Coastal Loop Trail where landmarks include a Napoleonic-era signal tower built back in the day by the British to repel French attempts to invade. Nearby is a lookout post used by the Defence Forces during World War II.
There’s a great sense of community, the owner says. She loves going down with the kids to the working pier at Knockadoon where she enjoys bargaining with the fishermen and buying fresh fish.
BEHIND the pier is the 100-year-old Knockadoon Camp, overseen by the Dominicans, and home to a variety of camps during the year, including Coláiste Cúram.
Nearby is sandy Ring Strand, popular with locals and awarded the Green Coast Award last year.
While Knockadoon does not have any retail, there’s plenty to choose from in Midleton or Youghal, about a 20 minute drive away. A school bus passes through Knockadoon and brings local children to nearby Kilcredan National School in Ladysbridge.
“I literally open the front door and kids run out to the bus,” the owner says.
She has mixed feelings about quitting her home on this unspoilt stretch of coastline, but family comes first.
Whoever buys — the selling agent is Kyle Kennedy of Hegarty Properties — will find it in turnkey condition, with high quality kitchen and bathroom finishes. The granny flat opens up rental options, such as AirBnB during busy summer months, or equally could be easily incorporated back into the main house, the owner says, by knocking the adjoining wall.
A 600 sq ft floored attic with Stira looks ripe for conversion; there’s a walk-in wardrobe and ensuite in the master bedroom and the heating is zoned.
VERDICT: Ripe for a long term relationship.
Knockadoon, East Cork
Size: 195 sq m (2,100 sq ft)