Plenty to potter with

THERE’S plenty to potter around with at The Glebe, Kilmahon, in Shanagarry in Cork, the home of the Pearce family of craft workers and potters and set to leave family hands after half a century.

The almost cube-shaped Georgian country residence with annexe and outbuildings is where, 50 years ago, Philip Pearce started a small pottery business, picked up and expanded on by his son Stephen since the 1960s.

Steeped in East Cork history, and occupied by both Catholic and Protestant clergy as well as landowners the Power family, Shanagarry’s Glebe House has latterly played a pivotal role in the changing fortunes of this rich agricultural hinterland.

It was owned in the 1930s by Ivan Allen of Ballymaloe, and between the dynamism of the Ballymaloe empire and the publicity-gaining Stephen Pearce potteries, this area 24 miles from Cork city is very much a core part of the county’s lucrative tourism trail.

Glebe House, dating back to 1780, is being sold by brothers Stephen Pearce and glass-worker Simon Pearce.

Philip Pearce died in 1993, almost 20 years after his wife Lucy, and the first pots from a fledgling business were sold from this property in 1954. Today, the prolific Stephen Pearce Pottery Shop and works is just over 100 yards away, and Pearce’s own home is nearby in this mature wooded setting.

Agent Peter Cave of Hamilton Osborne King seeks offers around €600,000 for The Glebe, a three-storey part-slated detached home on two acres of grounds with views to Ballycotton and the sea.

While work has been done on the residence, some of it under the earlier supervision of artist and architect Patrick Scott, it does need quite a bit of TLC and investment now to bring it back to full health and full use.

However, it does have lots to work with, features like original shutters, limestone fireplaces, sash windows and old stone floors. It has got four first floor bedrooms, three reception rooms at mid/ground level plus sewing room and store, and the basement has a kitchen, boot room, pantry and several store rooms.

While it will have an appeal as a private residence, the proximity to the pottery and Darina Allen’s cookery school at Shanagarry, might encourage some people to look at it with a commercial/guesthouse eye: the lofted stone coach-house at almost 70’ by 20’ has clear conversion potential.

The brothers Pearce considered turning the house into a family museum, but feel they haven’t the time it would require at present. “It’s hard to sell Kilmahon, as I would like to be the person to do it up, however I don’t have time.

“When someone buys it, I would be very happy to talk through my ideas with them, if they are interested,” said Stephen Pearce.

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