Tommy Barker on a stand-out example of laid-back 21st century living pleasures off the beaten track.
Ghadown, Skibbereen €640,000
Sq m 234 (2,500 sq ft)
Best Feature: Exemplary renovation
It’s almost nine years since the evocatively-titled Land of Lyre, with West Cork’s Roaringwater Baypanorama in its full view, last sold. It was top-drawer then, and it’s even more so now after yet another period of improving ownership.
Coming to a Spring market as its three acres of ground burst back into life and productivity, it’s listed with Maeve McCarthy of Charles P McCarthy at €640,000 its for down-sizing owners, who are still keen to stay in the area.
The same Skibbereen firm handled the sale in 2006, then priced at €760,000, and since then, in its current ownership, the heating (partial underfloor) has been upgraded, with new boiler too, and a new, higher-quality kitchen has also been installed.
Land of Lyre was previously taken on and shaken out of its raw-state, run-down farmhouse stupours by Denise and Pádraig Cusack, he of Cusack family acting fame, with another sibling, Sinead Cusack, living close by too, and who’s married to Jeremy Irons, also of some acting repute, and who owns Kilcoe Castle, in view beneath Land of Lyre.
This uber-sympathetic renovation, in its two stages, has resulted in a 2,500 sq ft home, in a courtyard-type cluster, with a kitchen and studio in one wing, in what once was a milking parlour, plus a pig shed. The only reminder, notionally, of those days is the stable-type half door.
Other than that, this 30’ long and homely room, with apex roof and lantern window along the roof ridge, is human comfort personified, with Aga range in an alcove framed by polished elm timbers, kitchen units are in solid painted timber and topped with timber, while the slated floor is heated from underneath. Yum.
Off in the other direction is the more ‘respectable’ main and two storey house wing, with four overhead bedrooms: the main has a gable end viewing balcony, with a dressing room and en suite bathroom down a second, internal stairs.
The rest of the house’s main ground floor is given over to a 21’ by 13’ double aspect living room with Charnwood stove on a raised plinth, a study with extensive display shelving, plus an office, and rooms are accessed off a side add-on corridor, with French doors to the enclosed garden with cobbled paths and raised stone flower beds.
Builder in the early 2000s renovation was local man Tim Farley, who put drains around the walls and worked with a range of natural materials, from rough-hew timbers to exposed stone window lintels and door heads, with slate windowsills given a boiled linseed slick finish.
With close on three acres, as well as two old stone store buildings, orchard and fruit garden plus a polytunnel, there’s plenty to occupy the days when in situ. The next nearest house is about half a mile off, Ballydehob is three miles away and Skibbereen five — so it’s rural but not too remote and the views, all day, everyday, are Wild Atlantic Way personified, islands, beaches, sunsets and incoming squalls.
On a sunny day, Land of Lyre works a spell, and now it’s back and available to buy, the expectation is that a flush purchaser with Sterling in hand will fall for its undoubted charms.
VERDICT: Still a stand-out example of how to bring a traditional West Cork farmhouse to laid-back 21st century living pleasures, off the beaten track, and up a boreen.
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