Glandore’s Swallow Cottage is an ‘oasis of quality and privacy’, well worth the migration, says Tommy Barker.
YOU can almost imagine the puzzlement of the returning swallows when they made their migratory way back to nest at Glandore’s Swallow Cottage four or five years ago — the place had been turned upside down in their absence, quite literlly.
While the swallows over-wintered perhaps as much as 10,000 miles away in Southern Africa, the Dublin buyers of this two-storey house, named in their honour high above Glandore village, were busy refashioning their own holiday nest on three elevated acres with views.
With evident architectural input, and local labour and craftsmanship, they rightly chose to maximise the views down to the village and harbour, putting their refreshed living quarters up on top, opening out access to the air and vista from a long, first-floor balcony.
It has utterly transformed this now fully-fledged, made-over retreat, and is its crowning glory, up on stilts and accessible from several points, with steps down to the lower, slate-flagged terrace by the downstairs bedrooms.
About five years after it last changed hands, Swallow Cottage is up for sale and a change of ownership, hitting an April market around the time the first swallows start to find their way back to Irish shores, and in particular to the outbuildings around this Rushanes retreat.
The reworked 2,500 sq ft four-bed home with high-end finishes and fittings is guided at €895,000 by estate agent Ray O’Neill, who reckons it’s almost certain to find a buyer flying in from overseas.
He has had good, strong sales recently to both US and UK buyers, though the run-up to the Brexit vote might temporarily cool the heels of the latter.
Glandore exerts its own “golden aura” on property sales, getting some of the highest prices in all of West Cork and, whilethis offer doesn’t have water frontage, or even shoreline proximity, as it’s set above the scenic seaside village and sailing centre, it does have views, aspect, and privacy, set back as it is from the road by two paddocks and a long drive between them.
To add a water touch, the owners excavated a small, filtered lily pond with waterfall in the private and sheltered garden oasis beneath the house and down a stepped path.
If the pond attracts insect life , it’s another biodiversity bonus for the swallows, and planting provides year-round colour.
The three acres includes main house with attached garage, accessed on several levels — thanks to its sloping site — parking area, old stone buildings, and stables cluster, plus double-glazed glasshouse with automatic watering and vents. The overall result, says Mr O’Neill, is a mix of traditional structure, with some gothic arched windows, and contemporary fit-out and comforts.
The redesign, plus gable-end two-storey extension and double and triple glazing, makes it elegant and inviting, with a mezzanine, a sun room next to open-plan living, dining, and kitchen, with painted, quality wood units and window seat, vaulted ceilings, and access to that great, full-length south-aspected elevated balcony via several slender sets of French doors.
There’s a lofted study above all, and back at ground level are a single bedroom, two doubles, and a master suite with both private bathroom and dressing room.
Recent sales at Glandore include Tony O’Reilly’s Shorecliffe, with water frontage, turning up on the Price Register at €942,000 in late 2015, but, including its full mix and six acres, made closer to €1.5m all-in, via Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes, while Bayview, Rushanes, followed in January, at €1.103m.
Selling agent Ray O’Neill calls Swallow Cottage “a self-contained oasis of quality and privacy”, with electric access gates, satellite and Saorview TV, phone, and alarm.
It’s an amble above golden Glandore, an hour and a bit from Cork Airport, or a month on the fly, if you’re a swallow winging it back from Cape Town.
VERDICT: Worth the trip.
Glandore, West Cork
Size: 239 sq m (2,580 sq ft)
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