Trish Dromey visits a lovingly restored Ballinspittle cottage with many artistic touches.
THE restoration of Tig Bródúil in Ballinspittle, Co Cork has involved the creative endeavours of an artist and a sculptor.
It began in 2012 when the artist found and fell in love with an abandoned old cottage, which nature was well on its way to reclaiming. Many would have been put off by the encircling briars, but she decided to come to its rescue.
Fast forward to 2019, it’s now a quirky and attractive two-bed cottage with old stone features, exposed beams, an artist’s studio and a wicker cradle hanging from the rafters.
Bringing life to her rescued property in a number of ways, the artist has since had two home births in her abode.
The rescue involved three years of effort.
Early on came the builders to put on a new roof with high-spec insulation and to pour concrete floors, then came the plumbers, well diggers, electricians and the fitters for the roof lights and for the timber sash windows, hand made by a carpenter.
Later came the painstaking replastering of the inside of the cottage with traditional lime render, work done by the artist with a little help from her friends.
She had trained as a sculptor so was well equipped for this, and for other tasks such as staining the new timber trusses to make them look old and fixing up the old stone fireplace.
“Nothing in the house was bought in a shop; everything comes from markets and salvage yards or was made by myself or came from my grandmother’s farmhouse in Wexford”, says the artist who bought a cast iron bath on DoneDeal and transported floorboards and door latches from her grandmother’s old home.
The cottage was still a work in progress in 2015 when she moved in. Shortly afterwards she met and married a Spanish sculptor and stoneworker, who turned out to be exactly the person she needed to put the finishing touches on Tig Bródúil.
“He built the kitchen which has oak and Kilkenny limestone countertops and cedar wood cabinet doors. He also put bookshelves on the mezzanine and made a traditional hanging cradle from willow for our son,” she said.
Inside the traditional half door is a large sitting room with polished concrete flooring and a huge inglenook fireplace with seating at the sides, log storage underneath and a wood burning stove with a back boiler for heating.
Open plan, it has a full height ceiling with timber beams and a modern steel and timber staircase leading up to a galleried mezzanine area with steel banisters and fitted bookshelves.
Alongside the sitting room is a traditional style kitchen with a dresser, fitted units and timber wainscoting. Off the sitting room is a bathroom with an exposed stone wall, a cast iron bath and an old sink unit which has now been plumbed with a Louis Mulcahy bowl.
The cottage has two bedrooms: one is off the mezzanine office area with timber flooring and built-in wardrobes, and other is accessed by a second staircase leading up from a playroom at the rear.
An adjoining stone outbuilding which used to be a milking parlour has become the artist’s studio. It has been fully insulated and fitted with a corrugated iron roof which keeps its original appearance.
The cottage has half an acre of gardens with stone walls and mature elm, sycamore and ash trees as well as masses of lavender and geraniums. The sculptor built an open fireplace into the stone wall outside the studio and also put in fairy doors in a garden wall.
Tig Bródúil is a five-minute walk from Ballinspittle, the village which became famous for moving statues in the 1980s.
The location inspired the artist, who works in a variety of media to create a display of Virgin Mary statues cast in butter, which went on show in the local SuperValu.
Seeking offer of €260,000, selling agents Hodnett Forde say this is a charming traditional cottage within 2km from Garretstown beach and an eight-minute drive from Kinsale. The house has been restored to a very high standard.
A quirky and attractive cottage which has been creatively saved.
Ballinspittle, Co Cork
Size: 112 sq m (1,200 sq ft)