Perfect stone-built rural retreat

THERE was a time when being stoned in West Cork indicated a high-in-the-hills, hippy lifestyle. Now, it refers to the prevalent use of natural stone in house facades.

A house that took this past decade’s norm to the extreme is Suaimhneas, a three-year-old home near Leap which brought the stone finish from front to back via the side and even onto the garage.

“Most people just use stone on the front facade as it is so expensive, but the fact they used so much here indicated that no expense was spared,” notes estate agent Henry O’Leary of the Property Partners network.

Suaimhneas, meaning ‘ease,’ does exactly what it says on its name plate, providing a rural retreat a couple of miles off the main Cork to Skibbereen road near Leap.

It looks over the lake at Ballinlough, and was built by a retired UK couple who lived nearby for a number of years and who are now returning to family in Britain.

The 2,250 sq ft home is on gardens of three-quarters of an acre that have been heavily - or lightly, if you prefer - worked on.

The gardens come with pergolas, pond, shrubbed areas and lawns - and the boundary wall to the front is in matching stone to the house. Asking price is €440,000-plus, and if the property was coastal rather than three miles inland it would be €100,000 dearer. It has five bedrooms and good living areas all on its capacious ground floor. There’s a large unused attic area, with pull-down stairs, and a detached garage adding to the sense of useful space and capacity.

Rooms include hall, living room with bay window and lake views, kitchen/dining, and dining room with two windows to the front of the house, two overhead Velux for extra light, and a French door in the side gables. There’s also a utility, family bathroom, and one of the five bedrooms has an en suite.

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