House of the week: Kinsale, Co Cork €750,000

There’s more storeys and stories than meets the eye at the fabulous old Kinsale town centre building, 28 Lower O’Connell St.
House of the week: Kinsale, Co Cork €750,000

Owned for a few decades by a New York-based individual with an eye for art and architecture, it comes for sale described as a three-storey over-basement terraced home, but, in truth, it’s far, far more than that.

A well-preserved Georgian townhouse, it has accommodation over five (and a half) levels, including lower ground level, attic level, and mezzanine. And not one level is scant.

It was used by New Zealand yacht designer Ron Holland for a good number of years as his firm’s design hub for boats for the wealthy and super-rich. Now, with 40 years design on the chronometer, he’s based in Vancouver.

Memorablia and posters of his time here and images of racing, thrusting ocean-going yachts adorn some of the walls of No 28’s lower levels. The enclosed courtyard garden has some bespoke, arty, and uncomfortable wrought iron chairs with triangular mesh, sail-like backs and tackle blocks as ironic mementos of a designer who never sat still, or on his laurels.

In contrast, the house’s two uppermost floors are like crow’s nest perches, high in this hundreds of years-old period townhouse home.

It has captivating and engrossing views south and east from its sweeping window bays, taking in first the dinghy park of Kinsale Yacht Club next door, the pier, slipway, and harbour beyond, and boats everywhere.

The scene setter (and stealer) is the top floor’s studio and bedrooms level, home to a quiet back bedroom and a light-flooded master front bedroom by a studio (the owner is a prolific amateur painter). Here, the bed is mid-ships in the room, and overlooked by a very handy attic/mezzanine, with corner stair access. This storage space is 10’ wide under the roof’s apex, and goes 27’ across the house’s full width.

It beats any impression you might ever have had of artists’ garret attic rooms and studio — it’s a cracking good space, bristling with personality.

Selling agent for this unusual and captivating property is Malcolm Tyrrell of Cohalan Downing, and he guides the c 4,500 sq ft stone-facade building near the White Lady and Kinsale Yacht Club at €750,000.

“It would be perfect for a person to live in the upper floors and, to make some other use of the lower levels, it would make a fantastic art gallery or antique store,” says Mr Tyrrell. The same agent is also in the latter stage of selling Kinsale’s ancient Alms Houses after huge interest was shown in the collection of cottages high above the town and Ramparts.

Some inquiries for the Alms houses were to provide niche tourism accommodation, and up to six tenders were received, with terms agreed on one in excess of the €350,000 guide to be ratified in mid-November by the Charities Regulatory Authority. No 28 could as readily fit that accommodation bill, albeit on a grander and loftier scale, and calls from overseas are coming in too.

No 28 has many original features kept and retained, from the old brass locks on the front door inwards and upwards, with many original chimneypieces, and quite grand proportions to the main bow-ended reception rooms.

There’s a graceful sweep to the bow or bay windows, on each of the five levels. Internal condition is very good, given the building’s age, and heating is via electric storage heaters. For future or further residential use, it will need a proper kitchen, and better bathrooms.

The street facade is exposed sandstone and red brick, with graceful, slender Doric limestone columns flanking the fan-lit front door. It has two dormer windows at attic level facing the street below, while the aspect facing the harbour has a slate-roofed curving bow, and slate-hung panels between the five sash windows in the bedroom eyrie.

Parking for cars is on-street, and for boats at moorings or marinas 100m away , while the property’s enclosed courtyard garden gives private and sunny outdoor space in the old heart of Kinsale town. There are dozens of bars and restaurants in the vicinity to whet and sate appetites.

Kinsale, Co Cork


414 sq m (4,465 sq ft)

VERDICT: A Kinsale original, keeping its best treasures for those summiting at the house’s top level, its crowning glory.

Bedrooms: Flexible

Bathrooms: 4


Best feature: Simply special

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