Tommy Barker explores a historic but thoroughly updated home on good farmland at the gateway to West Cork.
Price: €1.15 million
Size: 442 sq m (4,729 sq ft) on 6.5 acres
Best Feature: Chunk of country history
Houses as old at Rockfort, near Brinny and Innishannon west of Cork city, see lots of changes over their lifetimes: it’s reckoned that parts of Rockfort date to the 1700s, and that it replaced an even earlier dwelling
for better, grander views.
It was altered again in the 1800s and 1900s, and it got a big job done in previous ownerships in the 1990s, before it last changed hands.
Now the buyers from back then have done another complete overhaul, says estate agent Ron Kruger of international estate agents Engel and Völkers in Kinsale as he prepares to match the house with its next residents.
Stone-built — and even older looking from its extended and annexed rear than from its front with its unusual roof profiles and wings — it has 4,700 sq ft of characterful, old-world living space, or 5,700 sq ft if you factor in attic rooms, adds Mr Kruger.
It’s on 6.5 acres of sloping grounds with stables, shed, organic garden with raised beds, polytunnel, woodland, a stream, and a small, wildlife-friendly pond with mini island for wild swimmers, down in a dip amid its rolling lawns and mature trees.
Its entrance from the public road near Brinny is marked by a quaint, well-kept one-bed stone cottage with lofted wood-panelled bedroom, which is part of the sale.
Guiding at €1.15m, Engel and Völkers expect interest locally around Cork, and from further afield as it’s 20 minutes from the city, the airport and from Kinsale.
If what locals say about the current house having been moved to its current position to get sweeping views over sloping lawns and fields is true, well, it has worked.
It’s sited there for three centuries and, after the latest round of renovations (including an excellent kitchen in native timbers, with granite worktops), the result is “a sympathetic marriage of old and new, making it a truly wonderful period home,” says Mr Kruger.
(Rockfort comes a week after another agent, Sherry FitzGerald Brennan Busteed, listed another period Bandon-area buy, The Farm, Gaggin on two acres at €1.45m, showing there’s hopes in the wider area of a price recovery for the more individual country homes, where period homes like Downdaniel and Garryhankard have made c €1.2m and €1.8m
Accommodation at Rockfort, and across some internal split levels, spans a drawing room with open fireplace linking to a lounge through an arch.
Across the hall is further reception room with wood-burning stove.
Another ground floor room, used as a dining room, has a feature stove in an exposed brick arch in an old stone wall.
Also at ground level is a bedroom with en-suite bathroom plus walk-in wardrobe.
The reworked kitchen has kept the overhead feature mezzanine area over the island.
Off the tiled kitchen is a sun room overlooking the rear sunny courtyard and patio/terrace, plus a utility.
The first floor has four further bedrooms, two en-suite and with walk-in ’robes, plus main family bathroom with roll-top bath and shower, and there’s a large attic space overhead, with exposed roof timbers and trusses, ideal for storage, and a large play room.
About five minutes from Innishannon and 20 minutes from Cork city and airport, in good farming land, Rockfort’s a private, accessible hideaway for families, say the selling agents, and the interior’s looking good, with exposed stone walls as a reminder of the house’s real age, while — as a slightly off contrast — windows have been replaced in Georgian-effect pvc double-glazing.
VERDICT: Huge character
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved