Hurl your way home to Ringy’s birthplace

Tommy Barker says Cork hurler Christy Ring’s home looks a lot different from when he was born there in 1920.

IT took a TG4 film crew turning up on the door of Kilcrone Cottage, near Cloyne in east Cork, to let the current owner know her home was none other than the birthplace of the late, great hurler, Christy Ring back in October 1920.

Though best associated with Cloyne village, where his family lived on Spittal Street, Christy Ring’s actual birthplace had been at Kilboy Cross, a mile or so out in the country: the local myth is that Christy walked out of the house, aged six months or so, to make the family move to Cloyne. TG4’s recent documentary on Christy Ring starts with a loving, lens-eye on Kilcrone Cottage, and the rest is sporting lore.

A winner of eight All Ireland medals, Ring, possibly the greatest hurler to have commanded the game, is commemorated in Cloyne with a statue, another stands poised at Cork Airport — and in Cork city a bridge and a GAA facility, Pairc Ui Rinn, bear his name.

Now that the link with Ring’s birth cottage has been reforged, perhaps a new occupant of Kilcrone Cottage will mark the link in some appropriate way — even it is just planting another ash tree for future generations to cut a hurley from and claim a spiritual link with greatness.

A new market arrival now, Kilcrone Cottage is a different place to what it looked like 90 years ago: despite having just three bedrooms, it is a spot that has gone under recent significant overhaul with visible architectural input.

Architect Andrew Lane worked on upgrading the basic cottage for the owner (a Waterford native and supporter) around 2001, and the result is a modern, fresh and friendly take on a vernacular form.

Auctioneers Hegary Properties launch roadside Kilcrone Cottage for sale on half an acre of rear mature, peaceful and greened-in south-facing grounds, with a €295,000 AMV, and note its proximity to Midleton, Ballymaloe, and to a host of small beaches.

The townland has long, historical claims to fame: the 18th Century philosopher George Berkeley lived in a large residence, Kilcrone House, just nearby, as Bishop of Cloyne, and Berkeley in California is named in his honour.

This cottage is stone-faced to the road, with a set-back for parking and screening gates and fence for rear privacy. The architect suggested facing the house fully to the back, so that now there isn’t even an entrance by the road.

“It is a great house for a gathering, as good with a gang of people around as with one,” says the owner and there’s an easy interchange between the largely open-plan interior and the outdoor terrace and patio.

A single story dwelling, with some attic space (reached via a pull-down stairs), it has Velux windows to the back to draw light down deep into the core. So as not to waste space in the high ceilinged spaces, there’s banks of book shelving on high.

Estate agent Adrianna Hegarty, already busy with early viewings, rightly describes it as “an utterly charming property, in truly beautiful condition throughout, having undergone a comprehensive and very tasteful architecturally designed renovation.”

Floors are terracotta tiled in the main living area, laid diagonally to the white-painted walls, the kitchen units are in cherrywood, French doors open to the terrace, and a Stanley stove set in the open chimney breast and hearth seems to heat most of the house, such is its effectiveness, says the owner approvingly. Thick stone walls mean heat stays on once the place it warmed up, and windows are double glazed, in new timber frames done by Cahill Joinery in Cloyne. Ceilings in the main 24’ by 15’ wide living/dining area are white painted timber sheeting.

Kilcrone Cottage has three bedrooms, with stained oak flooring, and one of the three is en suite, with a shower room. The main bathroom has bath and power shower, with laundry appliance behind louvre doors.

In great nick, the place is being sold with everything in place, bar furniture, art and books.

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