A €3.5m exotic enclave

EVEN the name Blair's Cove, sounds faintly exotic. It could easily be some Antipodean sun-kissed beach-spot, but Blair's Cove, on the shoreline of Dunmanus Bay is in west Cork, on five peninsular acres of Irish coastline.

It could easily be some Antipodean sun-kissed beach-spot, but Blair's Cove, on the shoreline of Dunmanus Bay is in west Cork, on five peninsular acres of Irish coastline.

Blair's Cove House has, in its day, attracted its share of exotic and eccentric personalities, a clientele its owners Philippe and Sabine De May are, of course, far too professional and discreet to reveal.

Philippe is Belgian and Sabine is German-born. Her parents bought Blair's Cove House back in 1971. Although run by the couple since 1982 as a successful restaurant with guest accommodation, the house is primarily being offered as a private and exclusive residence by its selling agent Charles McCarthy in Skibbereen.

The guide books stress its atmosphere and romantic feel but it doesn't come cheaply. Asking price is €3.5 million, which certainly puts it up there amongst the dearer west Cork properties to be offered for sale in recent years.

However, for this sum a new owner gets, in effect, a residential enclave with six distinct units on an unspoiled stretch of coastline.

Mr McCarthy has a number of multi-million house sales to his credit in the last couple of years, including Glebe House in Skibbereen, Creagh House and Gardens near Baltimore, and Bar na Don in Glandore sold to the Daily Mirror's acting editor Des Kelly and TV's Carol Vorderman. Most recently, he dispatched Ahakista House to comedian Graham Norton, who will have to shell out a portion of his €5 million-plus TV annual income to renovate the 1.5 million purchase.

The main home at Blair's Cove, painted a restful blue, is a 1780s Georgian construction (built for Richard Levis Blair) with immaculate interiors, fine comfortable reception rooms with period features and four en-suite bedrooms.

But, there is also a number of other houses with this property, flanking a sheltered courtyard, including some converted coach-houses in stone.

In all, there are four guest apartments, a guest cottage and the 50ft by 18ft stone-built restaurant and adjoining conservatory, plus extensive kitchens. Outbuildings include a greenhouse, stables and stores.

The apartments are finished to a contemporary interior standard, in contrast to the old-world exterior of the courtyard, with its cobble walkways, fish pond, and castellated entrance arches.

Located a few miles south of Durrus, with Schull, Crookhaven and Bantry all nearby, Blair's Cove is just over an hour's drive from Cork city and airport.

When sold in 1866, Blair's Cove was described as "extensive and well-adapted for a gentleman's family". Fast-forward 138 years and any 21st century owners will need deep pockets to match their gentility to move in this circle.

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