This distinctive property near Kinsale has plenty of potential for prospective buyers, writes Tommy Barker.
Kinsale, Co Cork
Size: 10 acres/33 acres
Best Feature: Wild Atlantic wey-hey
IS Kinsale’s Lower Cove where the Wild Atlantic Way starts? While the genius Fáilte Ireland marketing of Ireland’s rugged coastline is hitting pay-dirt for the western seaboard,
there are spots that were wild long before the WAW.
And, Lower Cove has claims not only to wild Atlantic ways, but also Scott and Shackleton journeys to South Georgia, the Antarctic and the South Pole, through the derring exploits and explorations of brothers Mortimer and Tim McCarthy, who were born here, and recalled in bronze busts a century and more after their adventures.
And, even earlier, Lower Cove claimed another place in nautical history, as it is reputed to be the last Kinsale point that Scottish sailor and buccaneer Alexander Selkirk left in September 1703, on his voyage to the South Seas, aboard the ill-fated Cinq Ports. Selkirk jumped ship at Juan Fernandez island, becoming a castaway, the inspiration for Daniel Defoe’s classic Robinson Crusoe.
The real-life Alexander Selkirk has been referenced by others such as Patrick Kavanagh, Dickens, and William Cowper, whose poem ‘The Solitude Of Alexander Selkirk’ gave coin and currency to the expression “monarch of all I survey”.
Might the new owners of this Lower Cove property offer adopt Cowper’s verse? “I am monarch of all I survey, My right there is none to dispute; From the centre all round to the sea, I am lord of the fowl and the brute.”
With up to 33 acres of wild headland, beach access, grazing, some woodland, old sheds, dated house and architect’s plans for transformation, a new resident could indeed be monarch, lord or king of Lower Cove.
The distinctive property mix comes to market this autumn with Maeve McCarthy of Charles P McCarthy in Skibbereen, jointly with Knight Frank in London, and there is a guide of €900,000 for the house, old sheds and 10 acres with woods by the cove, and a further 22 acres of quality grazing can ber had at an undisclosed further price to be negotiated.
The main house, dating to the mid-1900s, was done by an American-Irish owners, and it went to market in the mid-to-late 2000s, at prices from €1.75 to €2.75m, but it thought to have sold for quite a bit less, as the market sank.
Now, with a rising tide market once more and Kinsale values firmly in the ascendant, its current UK owners (who have other Kinsale links) have decided to sell.
There’s now planning to integrate two of three disused existing ruined harbour pilot cottages into one 3,000-plus sq ft extra home, to plans by RIAI commended architect Lucy Jones.
Auctioneer Maeve McCarthy says even if a buyer doesn’t want to build so much (there could be one plush home, plus two others for guests), they can just initially at least concentrate on doing up the existing American style home, while the progressive planning grant is an asset. The plans show glass corridor links, similar to those seen in an award-winning cottage at Dirk Cove, Galley Head, by UK-based Irish architect Niall McLoughlin.
Remote-seeming, but about three miles from Kinsale, Lower Cove has three other dwellings including one beach cabin, and is little visited by road or by sea, while the next cove inland is home to a sizeable boatyard, linked by a public path to Lower Cove.
“Key selling features are the direct access to the beach, with the most wonderful uninterrupted views over the coastline, plus the acreage,” says Ms McCarthy, adding the planning granted allows “a dream home with two separate dwellings ideal for the extended family with a huge choice of sheltered places to sit and admire the array of sailing vessels making their way to and from Kinsale harbour, the starting point of the Wild Atlantic Way.”
A significant recent land sale was the purchase of 330 acres on this Preghane/Rathmore headland by US Tupperware CEO Rick Goings, for €3.45m. So, the spot’s already on the radar of the rich and adventurous.
VERDICT: Set sail for home
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