Watch: Large Innishannon home on 6.5 acres on market for €1.15m

A host of golden daffodils greeted Tommy Barker when he visited an extensive and oft-upgraded large home between the doorstep of West Cork and the city.

Innishannon, Cork

Price: €1.15 million

Size: 5,700 sq ft, inc attic, on 6.5 acres, plus lodge.

Bedrooms: 5+1

Bathrooms: 4+1

BER: Pending

Best Feature: Rock solid

There’s a hideaway feel to Rockfort House, set amid farm fields and one spectacular early spring field of daffodils, just a few miles north of Cork’s Innishannon.

The setting, along quiet back country roads, and 350 metres off the road along an approach avenue by its gate lodge, also sees it bounded at its eastern side by the remnants of the former West Cork railway line, and on its lower grounds it’s edged by the River Brinny. 

Between house and river, and tucked just out of sight, is amini-lake, or small pond, ideal for wild bathing or for tiny bouts of boating.

Watch: Large Innishannon home on 6.5 acres on market for €1.15m

Quite the lifestyle property, it’s not too far from significant landmarks: Innishannon is minutes away, and Cork city and airport are a 20-minute drive one way, while Bandon and routes to real West Cork and the coast out by Kinsale are 20 minutes too, give or take, in the other directions.

Once home here at Rockfort, there’s 6.5 acres to disport on, so for those who’d need grass for a pony, horse, or other livestock, there’s plenty here too. and, As it currently stands, it already houses organic gardens with raised vegetable and herb beds, and a polytunnel.

Watch: Large Innishannon home on 6.5 acres on market for €1.15m

Rockfort is said to date to the 1700s and 1800s and has evolved and grown over time. 

One local version of its history recounts that at one early stage it was taken down and rebuilt using the same stone in a better position for country and valley views.

It has appeared in these pages before, and back in the 1990s was sold to a restaurant-owning duo the Kingstons, who made great use of it for ‘free-range’ rearing of children, with activity centre plus zip wires, etc. 

Watch: Large Innishannon home on 6.5 acres on market for €1.15m

They put it up for sale in 2005, guiding €1m-plus as the market came to peak, but the eventual sale price is not in the public domain as this was in pre-Price Register days.

Its current owners, who’d returned to Ireland from overseas, took on another bout of investment and building fabric upgrades (it hardly needed extensions) and, as a result, it feels like an even higher-quality version of what it was before when sold round 2005. 

The quantum of artworks and modern pieces scattered its many rooms and levels adds to the impression of some opulence too.

Watch: Large Innishannon home on 6.5 acres on market for €1.15m

it must be admitted.

It was offered last May, at €1.15m and now, after a change of agents, minor alterations, and photography that manifestly shows its charms, it’s listed with estate agent Malcolm Tyrrell of Cohalan Downing.

Unusually, there’s no change, up or down, in the asking price from last May’s quoted €1.15m, but now there’s an option to buy it without its one-bed gate lodge, at a lower (but undisclosed) price. threshold.

That might put it on the radar of a few more buyers, or appeal to those who’d buy as one lot and consider selling off the gate lodge to recoup a bit of the overall outlay while still having a say as to who might end up living there. 

Watch: Large Innishannon home on 6.5 acres on market for €1.15m

In any case, as it’s at the far entrance point along the very long, pine-tree lined approach avenue, it’s quite effectively a different, stand-alone property.

“Normally, I’d be the first to advise anyone to keep a main house and its lodge together, but here it feels different, it’s not essential to the main house,” suggests Mr Tyrrell.

Once reached, Rockfort House shows its side gables and rear yard and back courtyard-like entrance as readily as it does it very wide, extended, all-stone facade.

Watch: Large Innishannon home on 6.5 acres on market for €1.15m

It’s sheltered to the rear by a 40’ by 15’ work shed and old stable block: immediately beyond, south-eastwards, are working farm buildings, which are held in separate ownership.

So, this Rockfort file really is all about what’s inside, and what’s outside to the front, and it’s all quite intriguing.

It has all the hallmarks of a three-bay, two-storey country home of some antiquity, with attic rooms under hefty timbers.

Watch: Large Innishannon home on 6.5 acres on market for €1.15m

It’s been added to left and right in the far-distant past with wings left and right, two-storey with arched windows at ground level on the far extremity, and behind is a deep annex, stepping down in tiers and which may contain part of the oldest sections of the dwelling.

If you factor in the three attic rooms, with heavy exposed timber trusses and their two large dormer windows, and some Veluxes set in the slate, there’s 5,700 sq ft in all under the unusual hipped roof (it was altered in shape by previous owners), or some 4,700 sq ft on the two lower levels. 

In recent ownerships, the attic rooms are let loose as all-weather play spaces.

Watch: Large Innishannon home on 6.5 acres on market for €1.15m

Rockfort House is adaptable in the extreme: there’s one ground-floor bedroom, giving granny flat or guest use options, plus four more first floor bedrooms, two of which are en-suite with cast iron baths, with dressing room. 

Several bedrooms have fireplaces, and there’s also a shower room on the return, plus a laundry/ironing room.

Back at ground level, there’s a central tiled hall once in past the red, arched fan-lit front door, and there’s a range of reception rooms, including a sitting room with black wood-burning stove and bay window, a marginally smaller family room with bay window, black slate fireplace, opening through an arch to a wood-floored play/snooker room, with garden access via French doors.

Watch: Large Innishannon home on 6.5 acres on market for €1.15m

There’s a rear/back hall also, plus guest bedroom, shower room, pantry/store, and the real scene setter is the multi-level kitchen/diner, with overhead part-mezzanine reached up open tread steps, plus glazed roof panels and wood-panelled ceilings. 

Units are in maple, with granite tops, and there’s a host of integrated appliances from the likes of Smeg. The floor, meanwhile is tiled in a rang of cream, beige and brown tiles.

Floor-to-ceiling heights are sizeable, and then drop down to the end of this already-large, airy room and go down four steps to a feature dining room with oak floor, exposed stone and brick walls. 

Watch: Large Innishannon home on 6.5 acres on market for €1.15m

The wood-sheeted ceiling and yet another large, purposeful, cream-coloured wood-burning stove complete the rather up-market rustic living picture.

Externally, the lake/pond rises and falls with rainfall levels and has a mini-island. 

There’s a copse of native forestry, some hardwoods, and the valley yonder is rural and pastoral, past post-and-rail boundary fences made from felled trees. 

Surrounding it are fields of grain and grazing, and parkland and bales, and many thousands of daffs.

Rockfort House came for sale a year ago as Bandon agents Sherry FitzGerald Brennan Busteed listed another quirky period Bandon property, The Farm, Gaggin, on two acres at €1.45m, and it has remained unsold and appears to be delisted on the web since late 2016.

Watch: Large Innishannon home on 6.5 acres on market for €1.15m

Strong sellers in the vicinity here so accessible to Cork city and

airport include the Georgian home and farm Downdaniel, closer to the River Bandon and Innishannon to the south (also cut through by the West Cork railway line) which made €1.2m, and the splendidly expanded mini-Versailles estate, Garryhankard, which sold in the past two year for €1.8m.

VERDICT: If there’s a look that jars amid Rockfort’s earthy, stone look it’s the replacement Georgian-effect pvc windows and protruding bays, which have been in place over several ownerships, doing a job, without being pretty.

Since this house was shaken up from an overgrown state back in the 1990s, the quality and pricing of more sympathetic window replacement treatments has improved in leaps and bounds. 

Might some new owner, flush with enthusiasm, do the right thing, and go for something more aesthetic, and even more efficient? 

It could, indeed, complete the picture.


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