THE salty hamlet of Guileen is set on a few folds of tranquil south shore where Cork Harbour yawns to the roar of the Atlantic.
It’s a place of shivering fuchsia, and vertically clouded Paul Henry skies, where second cars are eschewed for a ragged bottomed boat.
The bungalow creep of planning has not torn down these quiet parishes to any suburban excuse for countryside.
Midleton agent William Wallace has launched an unexpected property here, suspended a kilometre over the ocean-lapped village and confidently priced at €460,000.
Built as a second home for a Dublin-based family, and designed by Dermot Coveney, it’s a well tailored architectural picture box.
The exterior of this one level property has modern volumes, unremarkable from the roadside, but with a pleasing roof pitch and crisp white washed render channelling a cottage vernacular.
A sloping 0.3 hectares is fringed in appropriate seaside shrubs, leathery palms, exotic grasses, native hedging and a small apple orchard.
A rise of bank warmly mantles the landward side of the house. Laid out in unfussy borders, grass, paving and gravel, this garden demands an hour or so of dodge and glide on a ride-on mower.
Stepping inside to a luminous hall, the reason-to-be of this discreet house is stated.
An unadorned square window frames the sky and a shimmering slice of the Atlantic 46m below, cradled by bosomy hills.
The principal rooms span the horizon, east to west, respecting the altitude and superb visual reach of the site.
Built in 2002, fit-out, finish and condition is faultless with 2.8m ceilings throughout.
To the left of the hall is a bedroom wing — a family bathroom and three generous doubles, two faced to the fabulous topography with garden access.
The airy master includes a wet room and walk-through dressing area with built-in storage.
It indulges with an enclosed terrace with crisp Art Deco maritime detail in deck seating, a fat chrome rail and bulkhead mains lighting.
Interior design and decor is uniform, pure and amplifies the heady wash of natural light in white walls, pale Jerusalem limestone and American white oak plank flooring.
To the right of the hall, the main living area of 50m² indicates separate functions with spare, iconic furnishings.
It’s passively warmed and illuminated with walls of glass to the south, and well considered glazing to the north.
I counted nine doors inviting us out individual scenes of the painterly surroundings.
There’s an enclosed Mediterranean courtyard in an embrace of high curved wall, teasingly private for an outdoor tub under the stars.
The white, contemporary kitchen in a sun drenched west corner forms an ample 5.5 x 4.5m square.
In hand-painted solid beech,it’s large enough to host a second dining table and delivers enough counter and quiet jags for a home office.
The utility room beyond, takes rude domestic pressure off the kitchen and next door is a downstairs toilet.
Here we reach the bonus for this lovely buy — a handsome attached double garage of 46m² finished to habitable quality with automatic Gliderol doors, ripe for full conversion.
An easy ramble on foot, Guileen does not have a shop, but in terms of nautical lore and charm, it has everything that matters.
A local recounts the tradition that young men in the area were tempted to sea with the Royal Navy, retiring out after 20 years with a selection of tattoos, a taste for rum and fascinating ‘foreign’ wives from exotic reaches like Plymouth: 70 years ago, they could still be seen skipping out a hornpipe on the boat slip.
Today, Guileen is still gables out, tucked around a sandy beach, jagged rocks and sheep nipped velvet field patterns collapsing into the sea.
The Guileen Arms remains a loyal choice for residents and serves as a bait shop for anglers now finishing out the bass season, swapping legends over a cool pint.
The necklace of strands stretch east to Power Head, and west to Roches Point, the cultural and culinary delights of Ballymaloe, Ballycotton and Shanagarry making up the rear.
Whitegate with several shops, an excellent primary school, churches, and a pharmacy is five minutes away on narrow gauge roads, with the retail-heavy historic town of Midleton about fifteen minutes drive.
Anyone with a weakness for the beach and board would relish the action at nearby Inch strand (the surf school is walkable on the shore), while a more sedate soul will find the rural coastal setting, and the deliberate ease of maintaining this sleeper beguiling.
For families? Evict the motors.
The garage could deliver a casual open-plan clan room while retaining the vision and perfection of the reception space, making this girl-port out, starboard home.
: Calm and contemporary take on the coastal cottage