Make a point of seeing Ferrypoint

YOU drive to the very end of the road, on a spectacular Kinsale headland, to get to Ferrypoint.

Make a point of seeing Ferrypoint

When there, it’s either a retreat at the end of the world — or the start of a very private one.

Hundreds of feet above sea level, this home on five acres is an Atlantic-scanning eyrie in the midst of productive tillage land. The sweep of vista includes Nohoval’s cliffs, Oysterhaven bay with the Sovereign rocks as stern sentinels, and then west....well, first there are boats, shipping and oil rigs 25 miles out to sea, and beyond is America.

It’s a place for big picture thinking: seven years ago, hundreds of acres of land here was mooted for a €200 million PGA golf and equestrian resort development, with an Ernie Els course set to complement the allure and cachet of the Old Head of Kinsale course.

Cork County Council sanctioned a Hyatt Hotel and 180 holiday lodges in a scheme with 350 jobs promised: now, it’s untouched, save for the harvesting of crops. The golf plans have evaporated, the backing firm’s in receivership, and the land is being bought back by farmers. It leaves Ferrypoint serene among its splendours.

A large private home three miles out of Kinsale past the Carlton Hotel, Ferrypoint was built 22 years ago by Alan Crosbie, Chairman of Thomas Crosbie Holdings and the Irish Examiner, and his wife Mary. At the time, they lived nearby, had two children and wanted space to raise a family.

Over the decades it’s become home to a brood of five children, who’ve had a free-range life here on the land with paddocks and coves to colonise:

“It’s got too big for us, and it’s going to get more so,” says Alan Crosbie. “We only use about a third of it, and by next year we’ll probably be down to just three of us, so we are looking to trade down.”

Ferrypoint comes to market with joint agents Sheila O’Flynn of Sherry FitzGerald in Cork city, and Henry O’Leary in West Cork, who bill it as ‘an executive family property’ and guide it at €950,000. What the vendors are leaving behind is a family homestead (designed by architect Peter Murphy, and built by Paddy O’Halloran) with huge capacity for gatherings and gangs. It’s capable of paying its way too, thanks to sizeable and well-worked veg and fruit gardens, a hen house plus a c 1,000 sq ft glasshouse with stout plastic roof, home to tall raised beds for herbs, vegetables, salads, vines and a pear tree.

The original farm barn is still here too, used for storage and for a tractor. Built on the footprint of the original farm dwelling (‘Donie Desmond’s cottage’) it’s now a 5,800 sq ft strong house with enclosed courtyard and BBQ area, overlooked and accessed from a number of rooms, plus an indoor swimming pool, added in 2000 for a child with special needs, and for the whole extended clan to enjoy.

Helping out is a wind turbine, with solar panels for water heating — the whole set-up has been getting greener by the year.

Because of the prominence of Ferrypoint’s site, council planners insisted the house be kept to the spot where the original cottage had been. As a result, the higher you go inside the house, the better the views. There’s an elevated sun-room off the main master bedroom suite, like the bridge of a ship, with engrossing sweep, south and west and even inland back toward Cork airport, 16 miles away. It’s an enclosed place to sit, stare and survey, while the next, dormer floor above, has even better sights from its Velux and gable windows. This top level, with wood-panelled ceilings and beams, is home to two large guest rooms, a bathroom, and a massive storage section/closet, 30’ long.

Depending on how you use the layout, there’s up to seven bedrooms in all, with five proper on the first floor, all doubles, with a large main en suite bedroom with circular bath and sea views. The ground floor is hugely accommodating, with a massive, welcoming and warm kitchen at its core, very much the heart of the home, the selling agents agree. It’s got an always-on, four-oven Aga in a stone mantle (the original cottage’s stone is used liberally throughout its modern replacement) and the bleached pine table can — and regularly does — seat 12, with capacious units around, also in old pine. There’s respect for good wood, and craftsmanship, throughout.

Other rooms include a family living room, office, TV room/den, hall, a dining area a few steps above the kitchen on the way to the lofty, wood ceilinged sun-room/music room with its solid fuel stove, while there’s another long, sun-soaking room by the kitchen back door.

In addition, there’s a large utility, and basement cellar adding to the enormous storage capacity for the accoutrements of an active family life. Oh, and that great 11-metre pool, with its curved timber and glulam beamed ceiling.

VERDICT: Kinsale family homestead and headland hideaway.

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