Up for sale near Ballycastle, in north Co Antrim, is Marconi Cottage, a 19th century seaside stunner with a direct link to the great man of wireless, radio inventor Guglielmo Marconi.
Just this past week, the RTÉ programme Who Do You Think You Are? showed that former politician, Ivan Yates, has two strands of family links to Marconi, and the pioneering days of radio. The link is serendipitous, given that Yates is now a Newstalk radio presenter and TV3 commentator, as well as owner of the Celtic Bookmakers chain, with 60 shops in Ireland and Wales that turn over €100m a year.
RTÉ’s family ancestry programme showed the 49-year-old Yates’ lineage to the Jameson family of Wexford distillers, as well as the Davis corn and flour-milling family. Yates’s great, great grand-aunt, Annie Jameson, had married an Italian in Bologna, and was the mother of one subsequently famous Guglielemo Macroni. On the Davis side, another ancestor, Henry Jameson Davis, had been Marconi’s right-hand man and was the first Marconi company MD.
Now, a Co Antrim property that Marconi stayed in, back in July, 1898, is for sale, and given its charms, as much as its historical links, is expected to attract international interest. It was used for early radio transmission experiments to Rathlin Island, and eventually Marconi went on to win a Nobel prize for physics, and revolutionised the world of communications.
The cottage location, on 18 acres along the north Antrim coastline, “has one of the most scenic views in Ireland and is famous for its use by the Italian inventor, Marconi, in his development of wireless telegraphy,” says it selling agent, BTWCairns, seeking £400,000 (€444,000). See www.btwcairns.com.
Still bearing his name, despite a relatively short sojourn in Antrim, Marconi’s Cottage “sits on a secluded, 18-acre site with breathtaking sea views and surrounded by rural countryside. The site has full planning consent for a replacement home, offering potential purchasers the chance to own a contemporary home on a historic, idyllic site,” say the agents. That replacement house would stretch to 2,500 sq ft, designed to a contemporary look, and heavily glazed, using traditional materials specified by architects, Povall Worthington (see inset picture).
Location is two miles from Ballycastle, near shops, restaurants and bars (and a bookies for Ivan?), while there’s also a new marina, a ferry service to Rathlin Island ferry, while Scotland’s west coast is 35 miles away.
Neighbouring towns include Portrush, Coleraine and Cushendun, there’s golf at the Royal Portrush golf club, as well as Murlough Bay, and the Bushmills Distillery (not Jameson’s) is another major attraction.