Life’s a beach with stunning bungalow in West Cork

A gem of an extended house in an extraordinary coastal setting is set to make a splash both here and abroad, says Tommy Barker.

Tralispean, West Cork €685,000

Sq m 142 (1,500 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 3

Bathrooms: 2

BER: N/A

Best Feature: Setting and design

one-time quite ordinary 1960s bungalow, in an extraordinary coastal setting by Skibbereen’s sandy gem of a beach Tralisepan, has been lifted up to new headland heights, thanks to a contemporary extension, and upgrade.

Life’s a beach with stunning bungalow in West Cork

Reworked in the past five years by an Irish/UK couple living in London who have used it for holidays (and who now are moving full-time to build and live in Kinsale,) it is expected to have an appeal to buyers coming from over the Irish Sea, buoyed by the strength of sterling.

It’s guided at €685,000 by Maeve McCarthy of Charles P McCarthy & Co in Skibereen - and, handily, that works out at £499,000, within the reach of many a well-heeled London buyer.

In fact, the property next door to this latest McCarthy offer at Drishane Point sold after the Christmas period to London-Irish: that mix, a 3,000 sq ft modern home plus original 700 sq ft house all on 30 acres, made €1.35m or about £1m, in one of the strongest Munster sales of the year so far, having featured here in June 2014, guiding €1.5m.

Out near Tragumna beach and the Special Area of Conservation Lough Hyne, five miles from Skib town, this waterfronting home (with similar setting and views out to the lethal Kedge rocks as that recent headline sale had,) will have an even wider market appeal, given that it’s half the price.

Life’s a beach with stunning bungalow in West Cork

It’s on six acres, and has private gully access to a part-sandy cove, as well as a headland ‘blow-hole’ up from a cave. The 1,500-plus sq ft dwelling is done to a visibly high level, both in the mono-pitch and metal-roofed new wing, and in its smaller original cottage/bungalow section too.

The acreage means it’s very private, adds Ms McCarthy, while the fact the land is mostly rock, gorse and heather means little maintenance worries or issues.

Deigned by Cork RIAI architect Andrew Lane, the add-on is quite a simple affair, about 1,100 sq ft under a sloping membrane roof, over a service basement/boat store, provided for by a slope in the site.

This new section - all built by local Rodney Cronin - houses three bedrooms, to the north and east, plus a bathroom and a utility, with the very best section given over to a 27’ by 13’ living room with two sets of sliding doors and glazed panels overhead to the front decking.

Life’s a beach with stunning bungalow in West Cork

This airy living room, with sloping ceiling, has recessed spotlights and some feature lighting, and is warmed by a wood-burning stove and rising stainless steel flue, as well as by considerable passive solar gain. Floors throughout are oak, walls are white, and the look is fresh and modern.

The new extension links to the original via a small entrance hall, while the older section has more or less been opened up to the apex of its old roof, with rafters exposed, all painted white and insulated between the timbers. Solar panels now sit on the roof’s front slope.

This older portion now is home to a kitchen/dining room, with overhead mezzanine facing a tall internal gable, which has a second wood-burning stove, and in addition there’s oil-fired central heating.

The c 150 sq ft mezzanine (which boosts the space from the official floor of c 1,500 to over 1,600 sq ft) can be used by occasional guests, or as an office/den/retreat/storage, and is reached by quite a steep, almost ladder-like open-tread stairs in a limed timber.

Life’s a beach with stunning bungalow in West Cork

Kitchen units are a mix of limed timbers and stainless steel, and this room has double aspect.

This portion includes a shower room, by a porch/back entry, and even outside a hot-water shower has been provided for rinsing off after days on the sandy Tralispean beach, or after coming ashore up from the rocky inlets and gully at the tide line, up a gorge-like section leading to a lawned garden.

Taking the details ‘over the water’ to McCarthy’s Mayfair, London office affiliates on April 24 (Sherry FitzGerald did London last month, in a very successful Kensington Fair, while Real Estate Alliance travel to London March 21st) Maeve McCarthy notes “the modern extension takes advantage of the property’s wonderful coastal views while not taking away for the integrity of its former incarnation.” Finishes are sleek and high quality, as is the glazing, and the spatial layout was “key in the design brief to accommodate family members of different ages”.

“It’s a property for all seasons,” she adds, pointing to the inside-outside access points in summer, and the promises of warmth from stoves in winter.

VERDICT: A cracking good West Cork house in a rare setting: you’ll have to beat swaggering sterling buyers away from this with a stick. Or an oar.


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