Outstanding in its fields

Tommy Barker says this Co Cork home has lots of landscape features.

A CHANCE for some self-sufficient living comes with this south Cork home and property package, built just five years ago but done in an older style and look.

Off the Cork to Kinsale road at Ballingarry west, a couple of miles from Belgooly and five or six from Kinsale, this is a detached, all stone-faced family home with four bedrooms, 2,400 sq ft of space, two acres of productive grounds and old stone outbuilding. There’s a polytunnel for veg, salad and herb growing, plus a chicken coop and run, as well as space for a pig or two, all for a comparative chicken feed price of €650,000.

It was built by landscape gardener and designer John Curnow of Kinsale Landscapes, who also laid out the gardens, and planted more than 1,000 new trees. Those trees now laid down for future generations include hardwoods, a lime tree approach avenue, a sweet chestnut in the front turning circle, surrounded by lavender, while climbers like Wisteria are making their way up the house’s dry stone walls. There’s also yew and box hedging in abundance, as well as some beech hedging, and the greenery doesn’t stop at the terraces and front door, as house plants are in good health inside as well.

There’s a heft to the build itself, thanks to its stone out leaf and weighty doors, and the old world feel is aided by things like slate roof, timber windows and kitchen with oak-topped units.

The main house is four-bedroomed and done in a modern take on the Irish farmhouse (eg braced plank doors), with the best of materials used: the country-look kitchen has as a crowning glory an 18’ long ceiling beam, about 15” square, in green heart timber which came out of a demolished Cork docklands building. Also under another soldi wood beam, in a wall alcove, is a reconditioned oil-fired Aga, saved from a Midleton convent — nun warmer, really.

Floors in the bedrooms are oak, and the old style bathroom with quality sanitary ware has wainscoted walls and a roll top bath. Much of the ground floor areas are done in limestone, and the main sitting room has an oak floor, with feature stone fireplace. Obviously, given the exterior landscaping background, the owners know some talented masons whose work is seen inside, outside in the terraces and steps, and literally up the walls.

The ground floor also has a sheltering porch entrance, study, guest loo with some salvage features, utility, etc, and heating is geo-thermal sourced with radiators. A feature of the house’s main living areas are the number of windows with garden views, as well as a few sets of French doors sprinkled about for patio access. And, as the house is L-shaped, there’s a pretty sheltered patio off the kitchen in particular.

While just about everything has been done to the main house, there’s a possible project in hand with the separate old stone building out by the road entrance, and the couple of acres this property is on allows time for pleasurable and possibly profitable disporting.

It is a new market offering and joint selling agents are Victoria Murphy, and Keane Mahony Smith’s Kinsale office who now operate a dual listing system with Sheehy Brothers. Asking price is €650,000, “which well reflects the moderation in property prices this year,” say the agents.

This country offering, a neat enough spin to Cork city, the airport and port, or to Carrigaline and with the sea nearby at Oysterhaven and Kinsale, is quite a property package for the right buyer, and unlike a lot of large one-offs built on forlorn, bare rural sites in the past decades, this has the bonus of considerable landscape planting which will grow to cloak both house and grounds.

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