Petite Georgian gem

ALL options are open at Rock Cottage, a rare-enough petite Georgian gem, with a gilt-edged address near Goleen and Schull in west Cork.

The exact setting is at Barnatonicane, on 14 acres close to the sandy beach at Ballyrisode. It is a quick drive to Schull, Durrus, or back along to Ballydehob, Skibbereen and on along to Cork city, less than a two-hour drive away. Maybe 90 minutes at a push...but, why hurry?

Dating back to the 1820s, and with remnants of an earlier house on the site, and with sheltering estate-planted trees which possibly predate Rock Cottage, it is a place in which to slow down one’s life to an ambulatory pace.

The main residence has a decor that eschews the twee, however, and combines comforting modernity with respect for its period past, all in a high-quality decorative state.

Then it has land, a covetable courtyard with exquisite seasonal planting and herb beds; it is home to an exposed lichen-flecked limestone rock bed which gives Rock ‘Cottage’ its name and, apart from the main four-bed residence, there are two guest cottages, plus outbuildings. Oh, and it is a working hobby farm still, with sheep, donkeys, hens, ducks, cats and dogs all in the mix.

Farm produce makes the evening menu for guests, and older animals after productive lives have virtual pensions. That approach is sort of why Rock Cottage is garlanded with national guesthouse awards and recommendations, in guides like Bridgestone, Georgian Campbell, Alastair Sawdays, Jameson Guide, the Irish Garden Lover’s Guide and others, while its own paying guests’ register has paeans of praise to the tranquillity of the setting.

But, as it comes up for sale by its German-born owner Barbara Klotzer, it is quite probably going to be bought now for private residential occupancy, and enjoyed in full.

Estate agent Sarah Connolly of Charles P McCarthy auctioneers in Skibbereen seeks over €2 million for the Georgian home on lots of scenic land, most of it arable or in pasture, and with paddocks and natural heathery setasides, with sea views over Dunmanus Bay from its upper echelons.

Rock Cottage probably was built as a hunting lodge, but has acquired a bit more grace over the centuries, and is now slate-hung externally, draped in flowering clematis, and has as a contrast stone-built and converted cottages.

One of those cottage is a compact one-bed lofted building (a former stable), the other is a larger two-bed, stone-built, though only 11 years old, and are stylishly presented: residents of Rock Cottage won’t have trouble finding family and friends to visit and stay, and there’s always self-catering rental options to consider.

The cluster at Rock Cottage includes old farm buildings, including a stable block, garage and sheds, a hen house and a pen. The daisy-strewn gardens are a glory, much enjoyed (well, at least the bits they can get at given the corrals of paddock fencing) by the animal and human residents alike.


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