There are secret and not-so secret inlets and coves dotted around the high headlands at Pregane, a lesser known townland close to Kinsale, with Kinsale harbour being the official start of the genius tourist brand, the Wild Atlantic Way.
Just about squeezing in a vital water view is this late-2015 property market arrival at Pregane, a 10-year-old house being sold for vendors who are now themselves overseas, and located in a quiet spot which probably is best known for the neighbouring townland Rathmore, home to the 90-bed Kinsale Carlton Hotel.
The Rathmore hotel, with 19 lodges, is on 90 waterside acres and overlooks Oysterhaven bay, and was developed at cost of €35 million; it sold earlier this year to Scottish hotel group Macdonalds for about €6m.
Also in the eye of developers back in the early 2000s was a big bunch of Pregane and Ballymacus headlands, being ear-marked for a second major PGA/Hyatt golf resort investment of as much as €200m and with up to 200 holiday lodges envisaged, to trade on Kinsale’s stellar international renown garnered by the spectacular Old Head course.
That mega-times PGA development never happened, the scenic land there has since sold for €3.75m to US millionaire Rick Goings who’s CEO of Tupperware, and now this general scenic area gets on with its own business, which is farming, in the main, and also hosts a small number of one-off homes.
Views of farmland and a valley, with the waters of Kinsale off in the north-west distance, feature from this Pregane one-off property called Highfield House, just listed this week with Cork city-based agents Sheila O’Flynn and Johnny O’Flynn of Sherry FitzGerald, and who guide at €750,000 for a stone-faced home of just over 3,000 sq ft.
It’s a big, solidly-built home of just over 3,000 sq ft, on a 0.65-acre rural site about six kilometres from Kinsale town, and about half that distance from the historic Charles Fort and Summercove.
Continue down the country road past this Pregane home for another short stretch (say, a kilometre or so,) and you’ll come to Lower Cove, an almost-private gem of a hideaway, with several unique claims to fame to its low-quay credit.
Steeped in nautical lore and tales of exploration, Lower Cove is almost the first launch point on the Wild Atlantic Way, which is appropriate as locals celebrate it as the birthplace of brothers Mortimer and Tim McCarthy, who accompanied Scott and Shackleton on ocean journeys to South Georgia, the Antarctic and the South Pole.
A century and more earlier, Lower Cove was the reputed point from which Scottish sailor, buccaneer and castaway Alexander Selkirk left in September 1703, on his voyage to the South Seas, inspiring Daniel Defoe’s classic Robinson Crusoe.
A waterfront house in Lower Cove on 10 acres with full planning for contemporary rebuild went to market in September, guiding €900,000, viewed by interested parties from the UK, Switzerland and other European sources.
Now, another ‘For Sale’ board pops up, here at Highfield House, to tempt off-season home hunters, and as it stands Sherry FitzGerald report strong bidding and sales activity on upmarket Kinsale homes, especially those with a water view.
Given the scenic nature of the area, and this roadside setting en route to Lower Cove, it’s likely that planners insisted when this house was built day one, back a decade or so ago, that it be low-slung and unobtrusive: it would be one way of understanding why none of the upper floor rooms have front windows, or even Veluxes, placed for capturing those distant harbour vista.
As currently laid out, it a big L-shape, there are two, if not three, first floor bedrooms, and lots of storage spaces too, on top of the three ground floor bedrooms.
Most of the space, and the best of it, is at ground level, with a central hall with hardwood stairwell as a hub, and immediately off to the right is a living room with open fireplace, and access to a high-ceilinged kitchen/dining room which is this house’s best and most individual feature.
It’s a double aspect room, with tall gable end window with south-westerly aspect, and four wood beams cut through the vaulted ceiling on high.
Below, is a kitchen with cherrywood units, modest island unit and all with black granite worktops, with stainless steel appliances and Waterford cooker.
The section used for dining has the most expansive of the views to be gleaned, of interest in almost all weathers, while the patio just outside is there for the same views and outdoor dining on finer days.
Other rooms at ground level (there’s 1,860 sq ft downstairs, and just over 1,200 sq ft of dormer space overhead) include a main bathroom with jetted bath, an en suite master bedroom, family room with fireplace opening but none fitted yet, and two other bedrooms, or optional en suite bedroom plus study.
Warm cherry wood is used in some rooms and hall flooring, and there’s solar panels for hot water, and a central vacuum for easier house tidying.
Right now, the house has been vacated and is largely unfurnished so isn’t showing near its best, but viewers keen on the location and package will bring their own stamp of personality to this sizeable spread.
On view noon today, and will have a different feel come summer.