The War of Independence is but one episode seen by this historic 18th century home, writes Tommy Barker.
Macroom, Cork €500,000
Size: 342 sq m (3,660 sq ft)/3.3 acres
President Michael D Higgins delved into the Republic’s history and foundation at the Michael Collins commemoration at Béal na Bláth last Sunday.
Later the same day, he also opened the community-driven Kilmurry Museum near Macroom, with its special focus on both the War of Independence and the Civil War.
In the same parish sits De la Cour Villa, a period French baronial-style house for which those wars were just further chapters, in a history going back to the 18th century.
A few miles from Macroom, and close to now-booming businesses in Ballincollig, De La Cour Villa was built in the mid 1700s by the De La Cour family, Huguenot French via Mallow, on the hilly and wooded site of an O’Mahony stronghold.
Through marriage it later passed into the hands of the Beamish brewing family.
The Beamish Tower, which once formed part of the evocative and deeply romantic De La Cour Villa property as a folly or part mausoleum, is now the emblem for the new Kilmurry Museum.
The villa, with French airs and Georgian graces, has only had a few owners since, including O’Driscolls and O’Callaghans, before selling to software specialist Stefan Dutczyn and his wife Keri in 2013.
It had a €1m price tag in 2007, and the Price Register shows it sold for €190,000 in 2013, while its extra few acres probably carried an additional price on top of that recorded for the house on one acre.
It’s been a brave renovation project sympathetically tackled since, but the Dutczyn family owners have had to relocate to the UK for family and work reasons.
Now, the three-storey over-basement home is on the market as a work in progress with John Hinchion of Sherry FitzGerald Hinchion, who guides at €500,000.
It needs further investment, but Mr Hinchion says it’s “a rare opportunity to purchase a potentially wonderful family home, commercial business, wedding venue, or boutique hotel/restaurant, on a sunny south-facing 3.3 acres of enchanted gardens, meadow and bluebell wood.”
The vendors say previous owners told them of enchanted childhood days playing in the gardens, with peacocks and Irish wolfhounds and note “we fell in love with the gracious house and magnificent trees especially the perfectly shaped copper beech.
“Hopefully the President opening the Museum will focus someone’s mind into realising what a privilege it is to own a house of such immense historical interest to the lovely people of the parish of Kilmurray, says a still-charmed Mr Dutczyn.
VERDICT: A slice of history
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