A touch of old class in Kinsale for €1.35m

Tommy Barker enjoys the privacy that the aspect of Kinsale’s Old Rectory bestows and reflects on the history of this charming, elegant classic.

A touch of old class in Kinsale for €1.35m

Kinsale, Co Cork €1.35 million

Sq m 315 (3,400 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 4 plus 2

Bathrooms: 4 plus 2

BER: Exempt

Best Feature: Graceful

There are royal connections –sort of – with Kinsale’s Old Rectory, thanks to its links to the far older St Multose’s Church, off beyond its garden boundaries.

This 1740s-built, true Georgian home in the middle of Kinsale town’s antiquity, is looking well and comfortably upholstered for its venerable age. But, that’s only a drop in the historical ocean when it comes to the church it was built to serve.

Kinsale’s St Multose’s Church dates to 1190, making it the second oldest ecclesiastical building in this country still in regular use for worship.

Back in 1649, it was where the British Royalist and nephew of King Charles 1, the Cavalier Prince Rupert of the Rhine, on hearing of Charles’ execution in London, proclaimed Charles 11 as King of England.

A biography of Rupert was written in 2008 by Charles Spencer, brother of the late Princess Diana, coincidentally whose sister-in-law Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, was a frequent Kinsale habituee in the 1990s.

At one stage Fergie expressing an interest in buying the 1820 Dromderrig House, but was put off by security concerns at the time.

Well, should Fergie decide to cast an eye back over Kinsale , the top tourist town’s even older Old Rectory could fit the bill,with its high levels of privacy.

Guided at €1.35 million by Savills’ Cork agents Catherine McAuliffe and Michael O’Donovan, it’s up on the town’s Ramparts, near the old convent where a new batch of house completions and sales are set to get into gear very shortly on this Cumnor-controlled elevated town site.

However, this one-time rectory is a one-off, the real deal in period home terms and scope: the only big lack is the fact there are no water views to be had from house, or site.

Instead, it glances down over many of the harbour town’s valley rooftops, to its two denominational churches, with ancient St Multose’s more or less over its boundary walls. Back in the day, there would have been direct access to the church from this rectory to facilitate the clergy.

It now has had two sets of private owners since leaving church ownership, and got its first major renovation about 25 years ago when it was bought by an individual working for one of the royal families in the Gulf of Arabia...yep, Kinsale really is the sort of spot that attracts a wide and eclectic range of blow-in buyers, from blue-bloods to butlers and bankers.

Its current owners came down from Dublin, lucky enough to be able to buy a sizeable base here and still keep a Dublin foothold after selling a company, and now with sons at nest-leaving and college stages, they are set to downsize, going to buy around the town, within a walk of the bars, restaurants shops and services, they say, having had that privilege and convenience here for years.

Apart from its age and authenticity, its best asset is possibly its so-private setting, on about 0.45 of an acre, and that’s a lot to have and to hold within a town of Kinsale’s repute and land values.

While it’s big, it’s not overly so, at about 3,400 sq ft, and has the requisite run of fine formal rooms, and good bedrooms, and graceful proportions within, though externally it’s a bit asymmetric for a true Georgian residence, with its main entrance on a side gable, and its best rooms overlooking its lawns, over two levels.

Entry point is via tall wooden gates in a high stone wall off the Ramparts, leading to a gravel drive, which passes by a converted coach house, now a two-bed guest house, and a teenager’s den/games room/gym, to a double garage with roller shutter door, and a large car-port, ideal for storing bikes and boat, or housing pets.

The main house has four overhead bedrooms, one with en suite, and has two adjoining bathrooms each with baths, on the return, and there’s even a second, service staircase, as well as the grander one off the marble-tiled hall floor.

The Old Rectory has had money spent on refurbs; the previous owner replaced many of the windows with pvc, though the main facade has fortunately kept the original sashes, and most of the window shutters are still in place, whilst there’s also some ceiling plasterwork such as cornices and roses.

The main drawing room has an elegant marble fireplace, while a smaller family/TV room has an old, upright enamel Godin wood burning stove. There’s also a study, and a bar for distractions, and this bar section has a door to a raised deck for garden views and access (the lawns held a tennis court, at one earlier stage.)

There’s a very old fashioned utility/pantry in one mid section, with low door frames, and beyond is a modern kitchen for keen cooks, with painted solid wood units done by David Kiely in Carrigaline, topped with granite,done by the current owners, who also added a hardwood conservatory off the kitchen.

They laughingly recall how it came in unassembled kit form, and page one of the instructions suggested painting all the timbers before assembly – which they dutifully and immediately did.

Then, when the help came to erect it, they turned to page two of the instructions which helpfully stated ‘please note timbers have been individually numbered for easy assembly.’ Paint, they discovered, covers a multitude.

Tut tut, loud curses all around, in a rectory, of all places.

VERDICT: Blessed amongst its peers, it’s high, and dry, in busy tourist haven Kinsale.

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