Bewitching island location for carefully restored property

LAST time around, in the mid-2000s, this was a swift property seller for its auctioneer, despite an island setting.

Exposure in this paper on a Saturday, followed a phone call on a Monday, a flying visit leading to an island visit by ferry, and the job was done. Sale agreed, signed, sold, and straight into a costly make-over.

The couple who fell for the charms of Sherkin Island — one of the most accessible of all Irish ferry-linked islands — were bewitched by the setting of this Sliabhmoore dwelling, with views across the Gascanne Sound to the next island out in Roaring Water Bay, to Cape Clear and Calf Island, too.

Now, the views haven’t altered a whit, but the house has been dramatically upgraded, as comfortable and plush as in any upmarket city suburb. Roughing it in island life just ain’t the case here.

“It was the easiest sale ever,” admits Darragh Taaffe of Keane Mahony Smith, who is himself an aficionado of island life, and Sherkin in west Cork in particular.

After the couple bought it from the local man who’d built it (and who’d fallen for a research scientist visiting Sherkin’s marine research station from Britain and who went not only by ferry to Baltimore, but on across the Irish Sea after her) they gutted the inside. ‘Tis said there’s many a house on the island got great salvage from this place.

What replaced it is, though, is better again, luxury and design through and through. Even the polished staircase came out, to be replaced by a three-landing work in timber to serve the first and second upper floors.

“There’s nothing else as good as this on the island,” says KMS auctioneer Darragh Taaffe, risking the wrath perhaps of one or two of Sherkin’s population of about 120 souls and homesteads.

He says while Sherkin is a “a little bit like a step back in time”, the modernity inside is striking, up to suburban showhouse standards.

The four-bed house (one en suite) also has an attic level with study and playroom, while the ground floor has a 22’ by 14’ main living room, with fine wallpapers and a white marble fireplace, polished wood floor and French door access to a large decked area with a maritime feel and marine views.

The kitchen/dining room is another 22’ by 14’ space, with painted units, mahogany tops, Stanley range cooker in an alcove, and there’s a Belfast sink. The utility room off the kitchen is high-end, with a wet-room shower alongside.

All floor finishes are high-end, bedrooms are carpeted and, despite the remote almost exposed setting, the house is comfortable and warm, with oil heating and double glazing.

Asking price is €525,000, it is already “under a local offer” at about €450,000 says Mr Taaffe, and the site is three-quarters of an acre, and includes two decks.

Beyond, the island has five miles of roads and walking routes, three sandy beaches, two pubs/shops, a church and a national school.

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