Cork people might occasionally be inclined to take Kinsale a bit for granted — but if they visited a place on a par with Kinsale anywhere else, anew, they’d lap it up immediately.
Perhaps it’s something to do with over-familiarity, down the years but, right now, Kinsale’s a town at the top of its game, yet under-appreciated locally.
Visitors from just about everywhere else in the country, and further afield, ‘get’ Kinsale, and they flock here on weekend visits, foodie breaks, and snap up the best properties too.
It’s very accommodating, for all comers and cultures, and almost in all seasons.
And, just as Cork city folk might tend to bypass Kinsale at times, so too do Kinsale folk overlook bays like Sandycove: it’s sheer prettiness, and has its part-sand, partshingle beach and slipway sheltered in part at least by the presence of Sandycove Island: it almost literally and litorally anchors its reputation as a beauty spot and a cliff walk known mostly to the cognoscenti. And, to those lucky enough to live here.
Every year or so throws up a solid Sandycove house sale or offer, even in the midst of recessionary bad times.: 2010 saw two, Oz making €930,000, and Seafield making €758,000 as two of the stronger results.
A home called Tullyhill came within a whisker of €1m in 2011, making €974,000, and every year since there was at least one Sandycove property going over the €500,000 price hurdle, but there’s been none yet this year. Until now?
Bidding fair for a sale is Gorse Lodge, up at Ardkilly, Sandycove, up a short cul de sac hill just before the full glories of Sandycove unfurl, along with its wild-goat populated island, which is now the centre of a hugely popular, year-round 1800 metre sea swim for hardy human bucks.
Gorse Lodge is on a sloping 1.5 acre hillside site, full at present of autumnal leaf-change glories on its private site, complete with elevated viewing deck.
It’s a four-bed family home that has roots back to the 1970s most likely, but has been extended and upgraded a few times since by its current owners, who’ve been in situ here over two generations.
Set at the end of a shared-access drive, and thus at the end of the lane and discrete, it’s a house of quality surprises within.
It is deceptive size-wise too as it’s now effectively built in three linked sections, with the back barely discernible from the approach drive save for one elevated bedroom, with a gable wall of glass, at the far end.
Selling agent for Gorse Lodge is Sam Kingston of Casey & Kingston, who guides at €550,000 and who should be fairly confident of a sale above this sum once he gets viewers down to have a wander around: there are some lovely touches, and sea glimpses too.
Location is above the Pil estuary and creek just over the Castlecove headland from Kinsale harbour proper, less than a 10 minute drive from the town of Kinsale and the coast out further west opens out to glorious sandy beaches once past the Old Head toward surfer’s paradise Garretstown.
In due deference to its maritime setting, Gorse Lodge has a couple of kayaks on the approach avenue, and inside surfboards have been ‘repurposed’ (or, reporpoised?) as items of funky furniture. It’s cool, from the conservatory on inwards.
This mostly single storey house has been home to a serious chef and restaurateur, so even though the kitchen looks nice and domestic, it’s got a serious edge to it.
Units and doors are hand-built in 1” solid oak, proper joinery by maker Dave Prickett, topped with even thicker timber tops, as is the kitchen island built up around white-paned fairface concrete block, which envelops a black Aga cooker.
Separately, there’s an electric Smeg hob next to it, a facing wall has tiered Neff electric ovens, and there’s a purposeful Miele stainless steel dishwasher, by a deep ceramic sink and drainer.
Want more cooking space and culinary capacity?
No problem, a standalone garage and workspace houses, in part, a commercial grade kitchen and food prep prep area for the owner’s Kinsale-based restaurant. (Back inside the house, a hand-painted ceramic plate recalls a certain Cork city restaurant near the Opera House, which had a glorious culinary heyday from 1982-89, also gratis of Gorse Lodge’s owner.)
Once inside here, past the entry conservatory, the main living space is cheek-by-jowl with the kitchen-hearth, with central painted fairface block wall dividing a section and hosting a wide fire in an open basket, fed by plentiful supplies of logs and lumber from the 1.5 acres outside.
Featuring heavily in these linked rooms are the chunky, salvage pitch-pine ceiling beams,salvaged the owners say from a monastery: they’re immense, and tactile too if you are tall enough to touch them.
Much of the internal joinery and flooring is in pale oak and a central spine leads to a en suite master bedroom with four-poster bed and patio door access to the grounds, another far-end bedroom is also en suite, bed three is next to the main family bathroom with cast iron bath with brass taps and a far-end bedroom has an en suite bathroom also.
Overhead, reached by a tight wind of spiral stairs, is a fourth bedroom, den-like despite its high ceiling and gable wall of glass for capturing some sea views, and this bedroom’s wash area has a steam room plus three-piece suite.
This hillside home is set amid mature planting (no scope at all for a level lawn), and faces east over the pretty tidal creek, close enough to hear the sea and sea birds, and the house gets its best light in the early half of the day.
And, while water views aren’t dominant or full-on, they have been created, most notably from a 300 sq ft elevated raft of a deck deck, set firmly on galvanised RSJs by the entrance, and anchored by a stone barbecue plinth for cook-outs.
A Kinsale hide-away.
Best feature: Seaside site