House of the week: Castlehaven, West Cork, €800,000-plus

It must be hard keeping up with the Joneses down around West Cork’s chi-chi Castletownshend. 

House of the week: Castlehaven, West Cork, €800,000-plus

Houses about here only infrequently come to market, and typically sell for well-above average prices. Latest case in point was the 1750s-built townhouse in the vertiginous village, Bow Hall on a half acre by Castletownshend’s Mall.

It made €1.2m late in 2014 when sold for its US owners the Vickerys, wrapped up by December, having only hit the market in July with local agents Charles P McCarthy.

The previous year, the same Skibbereen-based agents (acting with Savills), secured €1.85m for a contemporary version of a vernacular farmhouse cluster, Glasheenaulinn, one of West Cork’s best-finished contemporary private homes.

Glasheenaulinn and its guest cottage and studio, all in a cluster, stretched to 5,000 sq ft, on 38 acres, with spectacular views and two recently created lakes done by Ian Wright of Skibbereen to encourage wildlife, and it was one of the highest prices paid for any Cork property in 2014.

Gorgeous Glasheenaulinn — which featured heavily in these pages in the past — had been designed by German architects and was largely constructed by a German work crew who went bankrupt during that build process — the Irish contagion?

Its vendors had come from the UK, and had initially bought a run-down farmhouse on 140 acres to get the best chance of a planning grant, given this stretch of Castlehaven road from Castletownshend is a precious ‘Golden Mile’ in a beauty parade not short of golden boreens.

They sold the house, lakes, and the 3,500 trees they had planted separate to 100 acres they had acquired across the road, and that land went back to a local farmer who has since started reclamation work on it.

All that price-crunching, background, and recall is relevant in the sale of this Castlehaven/Castletownshend farm cluster on 28 productive acres of good grazing, as it’s right next door to Glasheenaulinn.

It shares a long boundary along several fields with that €1.85m property, and has frontage to two roads, one the Coast Road from Castletownshend to Tragumna, the other a loop leading to Sandycove and Tracarta, back-to-back beaches on a promontory, getting morning/evening sun in their turn.

Selling agent Charles McCarthy describes this 28-acre offer as a traditional farmhouse property, totalling 3,000 sq ft in a most attractive location with superb views. It has, he notes, a favourable south-west aspect — ‘pitch-perfect’, is his judicious description — and what’s offered is a long, four-bed, two-storey dwelling in excellent order, with an annex, along with a separate and well-built guest cottage.

The vendors were born in the US, but have family roots going back to this home, and the bulk of the land runs from the house towards the shoreline, yet giving enough distance to protect from salt, spray, and wave.

What’s certain is that not too many more homes will get to be built in these townlands, given the sensitivity of the landscape and the necessity not to spoil the scenic beauty, the Golden Goose of the Golden Mile. Having said that, there will be those who might see slim hopes for a site down at beach end of the farmland, but it may well be a long shot.

Mr McCarthy says the existing house and guest cottage here by Castlehaven Cross can be bought separately to the 28-acre bulk on which it stands. Going on the last sale of the 100 surplus acres at Glasheenaulinn, he knows there’s proven local farmer demand, and even that’s likely to be exacerbated given the more compact holding offered here, within the grasp of a wide buying cohort.

* Also nearby at Tracarta, the same agent has a smaller dwelling right by the shingle beach, with lots of direct water frontage, with 28 acres also on the go. For this similar amount of land, right by the sea, McCarthy guides at €1.25m and this quite sheltered cove is popular as a launch spot for small boats, dinghies, and kayaks, enabling a short, safe trip along the shoreline up to Castlehaven harbour, pier, pubs, and the legendary Mary Ann’s.

VERDICT: The €800,000-plus sought here for house, guest cottage, and great grazing land looks eminently achievable.

Castlehaven, West Cork

Price: €800,000-plus

Size: House plus annex plus guest cottage

Bedrooms: 4+1

Bathrooms: 3+1

BER: N/A

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