A home that’s full of character in Durrus, West Cork

One of the most recognised buildings on the Sheep’s Head peninsula could be yours, says Tommy Barker.

Rossmore, Durrus, West Cork €485,000

Size: 210 sq m (2,240 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 3

Bathrooms: 3

BER: Pending

LEFT over from a golden age, and always appreciated and minded for 175 years and more, is the distinctive Rossmore Lodge, a period gem on the Sheep’s Head peninsula between Durrus and Ahakista.

Looking for all the world like a slightly startled and animated face, with eyes popping open thanks to the decorative brickwork picked out in paint against the white walls like a royal blue mascara, this picture postcard home was built around 1840 by Lord Bandon as a gentleman’s house for his land agent, says Bantry estate agent Denis Harrington.

He has listed Rossmore Lodge for its current, careful owners of the past 11 years or so, and he says it’s absolutely charming, absolutely unique and readily identifiable.

“In fact, along with St James Church (1792), it’s probably the most recognised and admired building on the peninsula, and to my memory has always been a full-time home.”

Stone-built — and deceptively large as it is double roofed, two-storeys high and has a Victorian-styled conservatory to the side also for exceptional views — it has over 2,200 sq ft of immaculate and characterful space within.

And, not only is it on grounds of close to one acre, it’s within a ball kick of the sea, notes Denis Harrington. 

That’s something the local GAA club Muintir Bháire might envy, as it has waited decades for its own pitch for the combined catchment of Ahakista, Durrus and Kilcrohane: however, there’s now no fear of a pitch invasion at Rossmore Lodge, as the football club has started work on a 17-acre facility the other side.

Rossmore Lodge’s own “pitch” on the peninsula is quite perfect, as the selling agent says it’s facing south, on warm and fertile land and he notes that farmers in this stretch would be known for early produce, early lambs and yearlings.

In addition, its location is favourable, halfway between Durrus and Ahakista piers and moorings for seafarers. 

Local Ahakista resident Graham Norton is usually the star of the show at the annual Ahakista regatta, an event he described as “basically a piss up, with a tannoy,” at the 2015 West Cork Literary Festival in Bantry. 

Back then, in an interview with Bishop Paul Colton, Norton quipped that he should apologise to the real writers there: “I do feel that my appearing at a literary festival is one of the Signs of the Apocalypse.”

He’ll have to apologise all over again this summer, when he attends in Bantry once more, having failed to disclose he was working on a novel. 

His recent book, Holding, set in a fictional West Cork village, has topped the Irish bookselling lists for months and months... like, sooorry, you other writers, Apocalypse Now.

Back at the “real” Rossmore Lodge, a sign of its gentry roots is the fact is has two staircases, main and back stairs for staff, and rooms include a stone floored sitting room and hall, sun/evening room, kitchen with Aga and Belfast sink, utility, kitchenette and guest WC with shower.

Up overhead are three bedrooms under sloping wood-sheeted ceilings, and a main carpeted bathroom with enclosed cast iron roll top bath and bidet.

VERDICT: Special


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