WATCH: The coast is clear to live by the sea

Summerville, in Cork’s Oysterhaven Bay, is an immaculately finished holiday home, says Tommy Barker
WATCH: The coast is clear to live by the sea

Oysterhaven, Cork

Price: €725,000

Size: 1,750 sq ft

Bedrooms: 4

Bathrooms: 3


YOU couldliterally fall for the seaside setting, at the head of a slipway to the waters of Oysterhaven bay.You could even carry a dinghy from your front garden down to the sea.

You could as easily fall for the views, of Oysterhaven and Kinure creeks, past Ballymackus and Hangman’s Point, to the wild Atlantic, by the rocky sovereigns.

You could fall for this house’s design and layout, with stove-cosying living quarters on each of its two levels.

But, perhaps the stand-out feature of Summerville is the quality of the build, the internal finishes, the timbers, and the artisan joinery. The craftsmanship is a joy to behold.

That low-key quality, in such a picturesque location, makes this modern, four-bed home quite the package for lovers of the sea, on the doorstep of Kinsale, and half an hour’s trip to Cork city and its international airport.

It’s for sale for €725,000, via estate agent, Steven Browne, of Sherry FitzGerald O’Donovan’s Carrigaline offices, jointly with Ron Kruger, of Engel & Volkers, in Kinsale.

It’s been a holiday home for its Cork-based owners, who are into sailing, to judge from the marine bits and pieces, ship’s brasses and bells, and the many maritime-themed paintings adorning the dormer-style, north-west-facing property.

The house is on a pristine, quarter-acre site.

The house, at the second bay in scenic Oysterhaven, beyond the busy adventure and sailing centre, has a 30-year history, but was renovated from stem to stern nine years ago. It is in immaculate shape as it floats onto a midsummer market, all ship-shape and Bristol fashion.

The wood workmanship matches that of exalted boatbuilders and the super-yacht ilk, with brass fingergrips and handles on the honed walnut kitchen units and with serried dentil detailing in pelmets and in the oak staircase’s newels.

The work was done by a Munster, bespoke cabinet and stairs-making company that has four generations of pedigree, and they delivered here in spades.

Even the the tapered spindles in white American oak, with curved handrail leading up to a free-standing, curvaceous rail in the first-floor living rooms, are exemplary, a tactile and aesthetic pleasure, finished with laquer.

Oak features elsewhere, in the hall’s cupboard doors, for example, while the first-floor’s living/dining room is floored in seamless white American oak, buffed and polished,highlighting its grained beauty.

This room’s vaulted ceiling is finished in varnished pine boards, above hefty pine beams, with suspended brass and glass lighting, which all manages to carry on the marine theme, rather than appearing dated or contrived.

It’s all a visual match, too, for the engrossing views out of its upper-deck apex windows, where, unsurprisingly, pride of place is given to a telescope.

That scope can be used for the night skies, bird-watching, or boat-observing: there’s an ever-changing procession of nature, weather, and marine activity; views span water, woodland, bays, coves, indents and inlets (one goes up as far as Belgooly), and Summerville has two, adjacent, private moorings.

Visited last week, the ocean-crossing, 70’ schooner, Spirit of Oysterhaven, was at anchor, the biggest boat by far in the bay, which is otherwise dotted with day cruisers, dinghies, and fishing craft.

The Spirit holds the promise of real adventure for the many hundreds of youngsters (and adults) who learn sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, and water-borne skills each year here, and whose progress can be monitored from the likes of Summerville.

The bay is sheltered from prevailing winds, giving a degree of protection, and Summerville is tucked away out of the brunt of wind and waves, with a near-neighbour house to the south, and just across the cul de sac road — for peace of mind — is the recently rebuilt Coastguard station.

One of about a dozen-plus, relatively luxurious homes by Oysterhaven’s second, and final, bay, before the road peters out uphill into farmland, Summerville is the closest to the water, the concrete slipway, and the beach.

It’s on a lane-side plot of about a quarter-acre, with front access via a short drive by a lawn, and landscaping to two tiers of sunny- sandstone patio and seating area.

There’s secondary access to the rear of the house, to a gravelled courtyard with second, sunken, sandstone, paved al fresco dining section, with standalone, well-built outhouse.

This is divided in two, and could have other uses, as a studio, boat house, etc.

Internally, the house has four, modest-sized bedrooms, with first-floor en suite master bedroom with walk-in robe.

Most of the ground-floor is tiled, in slate or stone, and is heated underfoot at ground level and with radiators overhead, while the first-floor has wood finishes, especially oak, in its upper living/dining area, described by Steven Browne as the house’s piece de resistance.

Internal doors are white-painted timber in a ladderback style, and windows are hardwood, and double-glazed.

Wood-burning stoves feature on both levels, in simple surrounds topped with polished, timber mantles, continuing a theme of no bling, but luxury nonetheless.

VERDICT: Love the seaside? Go see Summerville.

More in this section

Lunchtime News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up

Our Covid-free newsletter brings together some of the best bits from, as chosen by our editor, direct to your inbox every Monday.

Sign up