Sign of the times: terraced homes built in early 1900s in West Cork are now a crafty buy

Sign of the times: terraced homes built in early 1900s in West Cork are now a crafty buy
Pictures: Niamh Whitty

BEARING a proud, local link to Clonakilty’s past are the former artisan dwelling homes on the West Cork town’s Casement Street, part of what’s now the main bypass route along the N71, and on the doorstep of all of Clon’s long-established, and also newly provided, services.

Houses here date to the early 1900s, and as No 10 Casement Street came to the open market just prior to Christmas, estate agent Martin Kelleher has recalled the origins of these small number of terraced townhouses, as well as No 10’s original links to a well-known local family the Tuppers, who’ve had the trade and craft of sign-writing in their family for generations (see Tuipéar family image alongside from 1929).

They were built as artisan dwellings to be provided for the families of working men at a time when Clonakilty was an agriculturally-based market town. Historically, Ireland’s wide mix of artisan dwelling were provided by a variety of sources, from local authorities, to estate landlords and philanthropic benefactors and employers, such as Guinness, in Dublin.

What’s now Clonakilty’s Casement Street (called after Irish nationalist Roger Casement) was originally named Oliver Street, close to the quays which, as the harbour slowly silted up, were subsequently filled in, in the latter half of the 20th century when the bypass road was fashioned.

Sign of the times: terraced homes built in early 1900s in West Cork are now a crafty buy

Now, the pace of change on No 10’s doorstep continues to ramp up: new protection measures to counter tidal flooding and rising sea levels are wrapping up on the bypass; the former infill site which housed the local GAA club is now the site of the Waterfront, an award-winning 21st century development conceived of by Cork developers Bob and Ia Hilliard of Hillback, and now in new ownership, home so far to a brand-new Primary Care Centre, distillery and visitor centre, restaurant, and apartments, with further stages of development due in future phases.

In recent times too, Clonakilty got a Lidl, just by Harte’s Spar/Courtyard development and the Waterfront site, set by the start of the scenic, harbour-fronting Inchydoney Road before the Model Railway Village. The familiar yellow and blue logo of the Lidl outlet can be seen today from the back of the homes along Casement Street,where No 10 has a 25 metre long back garden between it and the car park.

End of terrace, the three-bed No 10 has had a very full makeover and upgrades in the past several years. It carries a price guide of €240,000 via Martin Kelleher, who says it’s now practically a new home, such is the level of extra investment in its current ownership (the Price Register show it selling in 2014 for €65,000.) It stretches to nearly 970 sq ft, so hasn’t grown much in stature, whilst a neighbouring home around the corner by the Lidl entrance is getting an extension which dwarfs the original section. No 10 has triple glazing, and thus is quiet within, despite the relative proximity of the N71. And, if next owners have a car, there’s on-street parking, plus there’s a bus stop for the main West Cork towns’ coastal service 150 metres away.

Sign of the times: terraced homes built in early 1900s in West Cork are now a crafty buy

Internally, the D2 BER-rated home is in mint condition since robustly taken in hand four years ago, with upgraded insulation, there are solar panels for water heating, a new kitchen, a smartly tiled hall, and upgraded main bathroom, while heating is via digitally controlled electric heating and there is a multi-fuel stove in the main/front sitting room.

Mr Kelleher says No 10’s ‘close to everything, but far from ordinary’, and adds ‘the quietness on offer in this wonderful townhouse would surprise you’. One of the noisier passers-by, however, might be the road ‘train’ Choo Choo that takes visitors to the Model Railway Village on a trip around Clon’s main streets, and for this, local man Tomás Tuipéar may have to take some responsibility.

An early advocate and supporter of the highly popular visitor attraction the Model Railway Village with then-Cork County architect Billy Houlihan, Mr Tuipéar is well known as one of Ireland’s best sign writers and shop front creators. He is sometimes known as the Street Philosopher, and featured in a TV documentary Sign Magic by ‘Hands’ series creator David Shaw Smith. He’s the third generation of Tuipéar family signwriters, and says his family still have fond memories of their roots over a century ago at Casement Street’s No 10.

Sign of the times: terraced homes built in early 1900s in West Cork are now a crafty buy

VERDICT: Sign up for No 10 Casement Street?

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