Star Wars to meet bidding battles at West Cork home with private pier

House of the week

Crookhaven, West Cork

  • €625,000
  • Size: 308 sq m (3,290 sq ft)
  • Bedrooms: 4
  • Bathrooms: 4
  • BER: C2

West Cork's Crookhaven is all about this spectacularly-scenic stretch of land's relationship to the sea - and that land and sea combination, sealed with the presence of its own private pier, is what's going to sell star-struck Monksfield, most likely in jig time too.

A noted, safe berth for yachts and boats of all shapes and sizes, in almost all weathers and wind and wave directions, cocooned Crookhaven near the Mizen Head has a small, year-round population along its narrow length.

But, that headcount explodes ten-fold to some 700-800 once summer comes around and holiday homes fill up, or when Hollywood and Star Wars come a-calling.

In fact, that huge number once was its permanent population, in the 19th century mostly, when 'Crook' was a stop-off point for trans-Atlantic shipping, used for provisioning, and was also a renowned base for fishing fleets, and for mining, back when it was said you could cross the narrow inlet by jumping from boat to boat, so densely packed in were they (it almost came back to that in the height of Celtic Tiger times, what with RIBS and cruisers and all.)

Its maritime links came to notice also in the early 1900s, when the Italian-Irish scientist Guglielmo Marconi did early transmissions of wireless telephony, and ship to ship communication, at Crookhaven, the Mizen and Cape Clear, one of a number of stations he set up on either side of the Atlantic.

And, then, three years ago, an international (if not inter-galactic) link was again forged, at Brow Head at the slender strip of land's south western end was taken over for filming of Star Wars Episode VIII/The Last Jedi, when actors Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley were among a Hollywood crew of 200 who descended on sets in Cork, Kerry and Donegal, and ruled supreme in Crook, back in May 2016.

Crookhaven's the sort of place that takes the long view, taking it all in its stride, and sort of reckons if it waits long enough, most things in the wide, wide world will come to it: the arrival of the Wild Atlantic Way only makes that more likely, and it's often a first, safe Irish landing point for trans-Atlantic sailors also, who've just been guided safely in by the flash of the Fastnet lighthouse.

Now, a place that can connect to the wider world by water as well as by road, has come to the open market, and estate agent Tristan Kingston of West Cork agency Hodnett Forde pins a €625,000 AMV on Monksfield, a few hundred metre from the village core and its seasonally-buzzy bars, just a few miles from glorious Barleycove beach, and the Mizen Head lighthouse.

Being sold for a member of the local and very well-known bar owning O'Sullivan family, it's an extended bungalow, with attic level rooms as well as a lower ground or basement level with master bedroom suite with garden access, plus gym, and is just one of a very tiny handful of West Cork properties with private piers.

And, given that it's in the safe embrace of Crookhaven harbour, that, for yachties and RIB sticklers, is the icing on top.

Proof? Well, less than a year ago, the former family home of the late businessman Bernie Cahill's Colla Road Schull home, Cuan Bán went for sale with a €1.5m price guide. It was a 3,800 sq ft detached house on 2.8 acres with its own pier and boat derrick, in Schull harbour and was the centre of a hot bidding war between two parties, eventually sold for €2.2 million, one of Munster's top 2018 sale results.

Monksfield isn't quite in that size, scale and price league, thankfully for home hunters, but Crookhaven still carries a price premium, and seems to be heading back on something of a price wave, according to the Price Register.

That value yardstick shows the three most recent house sales in Crookhaven all over €500,000 with the top so far at €625,000. One of those trio, Cuasnaray, was a 1,300 sq ft bungalow needing doing up, but on two water-fronting acres, overlooking Rock Island by the mouth of Crookhaven harbour: it went to market in 2017 guiding €425,000 and sold last year for €520,000.

So, will €625k that be a starting point, or end point for Monksfield House, getting its first appreciative viewings over this Easter Bank Holiday weekend?

Auctioneer Tristan Kingston of Clon-based Hodnett Forde reckons it's “certainly one of the most attractive coastal properties to come to the market within the Mizen Peninsula over the last number of years, offering privacy, uninterrupted views overlooking Crookhaven Harbour, Rock Island and Sheemon Point, and within five minutes' walk, of Crookhaven village.”

On a half acre, and upgraded and extended over time, it has a large (27' by 15') glazed living room with water views, linking to a lounge, there's also a kitchen/dining room, a conservatory, family bathroom and three mid-level bedrooms, one of which is en suite.

This main, living area runs to about 1,700 sq ft; then, overhead is a further c 750 sq ft with loft rooms and a bathroom, while the basement is bigger again, at about 860 sq ft, with store, gym and en suite bedroom with bathroom.

Separately by Monkfield's front entrance is a lofted double garage, with overhead space: boathouse and sail store, anyone?

VERDICT: A safe berth.

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