An Carraig in Kinsale has spectacular views, and dramatic plans to enhance the house, writes Tommy Barker.
Location: Ramparts, Kinsale
Size: Planning for 1,900 sq ft
Best Feature: Great plans for changes
There’s nothing at all wrong with An Carraig (the Rock) set on a height known as the Ramparts, in uber-chic coastal Kinsale — the southernmost point of the Wild Atlantic Way and a salubrious sanctuary for world-weary travellers, by car, plane and super-yacht.
Yet, as An Carraig comes up for sale, it’s a 50/50 bet as to whether it gets bought and kept as it is, or gets knocked, and replaced.
Why? It’s the site, plain and simple. It’s in a stunning setting, with views you’d never tire of, but engrossing enough that you’d also be itching to get a better grip on. Hence, the possibility of doing better.
Hidden and private under a narrow stretch of road at the Ramparts, almost under the town’s towering convent edifice, this spot is very much an eye in the sky, overlooking much of Kinsale town, out over narrow winding streets, over roofs and past chimney pots, down to clearer vistas to Kinsale’s inner harbour, yacht marinas and Ardbrack, out as far in fact as Summercove.
Estate agent Trish Stokes of Lisney describes the current An Carraig as “a sweet, three-bedroomed detached bungalow, an oasis of privacy with exceptional views, and sun-trap patio.”
But, she notes that while the current owner has been here 15 years and has done several upgrades, there’s also full planning in place for its virtual replacement, with a larger and more extensively glazed four-bed 1,900 sq ft home, over two levels instead of the current single storey.
Ms Stokes is selling for An Carraig’s owner Lhara O’Connor, club manager of the world-famous Old Head of Kinsale Golf Course, which was developed by her father Patrick O’Connor, with his brother John O’Connor, who died in 2013.
Earlier, in March 2013, via Killarney architects Mosca McGillicuddy, Ms O’Connor secured planning for what’s effectively a rebuild, allowing for partial demolition, ground floor extension and a first floor T-shaped addition at the back under the rockface, which would provide for four lower level bedrooms (one, very large, and with terrace access), and with first floor kitchen/living/dining, also with roof/terrace access.
At present, the accommodation is all on one level, with two access points to a stone-flagged patio, but the rooms really aren’t best positioned for views, and the vista beyond the main living room’s gable regrettably is chopped into postcard sized frames, thanks to rectangular ‘Georgian’ pane frames, within pvc double glazing.
There’s a few years left yet to run on the five-year grant of planning, up to March 2018, so a buyer might do well to move in and get used to the home, its features, best attributes and then decide if they want to follow the architect’s plans to the letter and sketches, or opt for something different.
In any case, living here won’t be any discomfort or imposition, as the two bathrooms (main and en suite) are extremely well finished, the kitchen’s good too, and internal finishes are already above spec. Other rooms include a sun room, and home office.
It’s a five minute walk to the town and access currently is via a sliding gate at the Ramparts, opening to a raised car park/deck with space for up to two cars.
A flight of steps leads down to a side/main entrance. The altered/replacement dwelling allows for a covered stairwell/lift-shaft to the house, looking a tad similar to one on a hillside site The Point Road in Crosshaven.
There are several exemplary contemporary buildings grafted onto the Ramparts, and this stretch with looming convent presence is visible from most of the town.
And the view out from the Ramparts is toward Ardbrack, where the past two years has seen houses sell at €1m, €2m and as high as €3m, and where a house was bought for €1.35m — for its site value.
The most recent at Arbrack is just shy of €1m, via Lisney’s Ms Stokes: now, she guides An Carraig at €575,000, with the wind in her sales.
VERDICT: Kinsale’s on a roll.
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