Buy a slice of Churchtown

YOU don’t lightly make the decision to move to Churchtown – people tend to stay.

Actor Oliver Reed, who loved the area, was buried in the north Cork village’s 13th century cemetery, after dying suddenly aged 61 during the making of the movie Gladiator. Maeve Binchy still traces her roots to here, though her great grandfather “left Churchtown in 1849 for the bright lights of Charleville,” she recalls. Legendary horse trainer Vincent O’Brien started his National Hunt career in the area with a string of winners – bagging a Cheltenham Gold Cup with Cottage Rake in 1948, before his subsequent move to Ballydoyle.

This north Cork village treasures its people, and its past, and in fact the book The Annals of Churchtown, which came out in 2005, ran to 260,000 words and 775 pages in length, with an accolade from President Mary McAleese after she’d visited its go-ahead village community’s renewal facilities.

The village’s own website takes the longest view, noting its geological roots of marble some 350 million years ago, while its top veneer of land is considered among the region’s very best.

Now, a slice of Churchtown’s finest comes up for sale, as Egmont House is offered on 94 acres of prime pasture, with garden, orchard, an array of old and newer farm facilities and buildings. Plus, there’s an old stone barn a few fields away with underground cellars, built for a cider press, and said to have been linked to the old house centuries ago by an underground passage.

The original house here is attributed to the Percevals, the Earls of Egmont, who were among the largest landowners in Co Cork.

The current Egmont House dates to the early 1800s, and is the centre of a substantial farm enterprise, now in its third generation of Sherlock family ownership, and is being sold only for personal reasons by farmers Billy and Michelle Sherlock.

This Egmont House is well-rooted to its ground, predated by some of the old courtyard stables, entered by a castellated archway, and outbuildings linked to the residence by curtaining walls.

It is brought to market by John Paul Sheehan of Lisneys in Cork city as a country lifestyle offering/working farm. He seeks around €1.25 million for the entire mix, and it has extensive road frontage, a central roadway and dual access to two roads.

Location is off the main Cork to Limerick road, near Liscarroll and Buttevant, and likely buying market will include farmers – naturally – but also those hoping for a lifestyle change, or a move to Ireland. Indicating the horse pedigree, a neighbouring field is ringed by a horse gallop.

A ‘modest’ period home of about 2,300 sq ft, Egmont House is a five-bed, two-storey home with five bedrooms, under a low pitched slate roof, and other rooms include a feature entrance hallway with staircase, formal dining room, family room, breakfast room, kitchen, utility and pantry.

It comes for sale as the Cork property market for 2010 kicks off with a handful of €1 to €1.5m market arrivals (one, in Maryborough Orchard in Douglas which featured here two weeks ago, is already under offer at €1.5m). Egmont is a rare enough quality residential farm offering. How it sells will be watched.


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