Gurteen House steeped in history

Tommy Barker finds a Bandon house with history in its blood and wooded grounds with pond, stream and an old bridge.

TRAILING long history and a recent renovation is Gurteen House, a 1700s Georgian home on wooded grounds near Bandon, Cork.

It’s unusual mix includes a listed C17th bridge and path, which may have carried O’Neill and O’Donnell on their march to the Battle of Kinsale, a trout pond, and a bomb crater from the War of Independence. Plus, there’s an adjoining Victorian Gothic Revival home (in separate ownership,) festooned with ornate carvings and gargoyles, attributed to the famed 19th Century Cork architect WH Hill.

Gurteen, from the Irish for ‘little field,’ is for sale on two acres of luscious land, with paths carved to the trout pond, to the Ballymahane river/stream, and the very old, arched and resplendently redundant Ballytannig Bridge.

A previous Gurteen resident, Nathaniel Jackson, who was a county surveyor, was involved in the redesign of Gurteen House, and may have commissioned the later faux Gothic wing on the right for his daughter, and it is said he also had the main Bandon-Macroom road diverted around the house and a new bridge built.

Down the years, and twice in the past century, Gurteen House was split into two homes, was reunited, then separated again, in the 1930s by the Cogswell family. It separated again when sold to two co-operating buyers in 2003/2004. At that stage, the Gothic half had been unlived in for decades. Now. both houses have been renovated and upgraded, and what a new owner might lack in full privacy and isolation, is compensated for by the fact either county home isn’t isolated – there’s good neighbours to call on.

Both owners have put in ponds, but perhaps that’s not coincidental – after all, the river runs through here, and some of the surrounding lands were used in previous centuries as flax ponds, for making linen: the trade employed 30,000 at one stage in west Cork.

Having completed their own overhaul here, the young couple who bought the original (left hand) portion of the house back in 2003 are now looking to move on. Agent is Mark Kelly of Propertyonline.ie, who guide it at €490,000.

The 3,000 sq ft, two-storey extended Georgian home has five bedrooms, and several formal reception rooms, plus a country-style kitchen with the bulwark of a very old round stone bread oven, which wraps around into a large utility. Virtually all of the rooms have intact period features, good fireplaces, working shutters, and new wooden sash windows have been put in the front.

Overhead of the utility/boot room, a new modern sun room/study/music room with deck and balcony access has recently been added on a very quiet, west-facing retreat.

Upstairs proper, several of the five bedrooms have fireplaces and one characterful, gable room has interesting shapes and a nice remove from the others, ideal for noisy teenagers or light sleepers.

Upgrade works include 1’ of Rockwool attic insulation, reroofing with Bangor slate, rewiring, etc.

Location is just a mile or two north of Bandon, making the city an easy daily commute while the setting is pure countryside, with gardens and ponds to roam in and around, and with seating and viewing areas in the rising back acre, planted with hundreds of trees for firewood.


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