Now might be as good a time as any to invest in East Cork, oh, say around Ballycotton, or Shanagarry, where a B&B, Willoughby, is freshly up for sale.
There are big plans afoot for Ballycotton, for a privately driven tourism vision and investment injection, spearheaded by proud local native boy made good, Pearse Flynn.
The Ballycotton-born physicist turned tech entrepreneur, who currently owns and heads up UK debt solution company Creditfix, and who has been CEO of a number of companies turning over billions a year, along with owning shares in Scottish football clubs, is putting some of his money back into his birthplace, where he fished for lobsters as a child.
His work CV includes periods in top positions in Wang, Compaq, Newbridge Networks, Alcatel Carrier, Damova and now Creditfix since 2007, based in Glasgow.
Already, back home, Mr Flynn has built one of the most dramatically sited clifftop homes anywhere on the Irish coastline, having bought, demolished and replaced an existing old dwelling on Ballycotton’s Cliff Road.
Designed by Cork city-based Kiosk Architects, jutting and cutting edge contemporary, multi-level and yet low-slung beneath the road level, leaving the harbour and fishing village for the Cliff Walk, it would not look out of place in the Millionaires’ Rows of Kinsale, or Killiney. And, it has the closest available shoreline views out to the steep mound of Ballycotton Island, and its dark outline of lighthouse.
Think the Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore has some setting? Think again, for this Ballycotton eyerie.
The Grand Designs-quality house is there only a few years, and since completing it, Mr Flynn has since also been associated with the purchase of Ballycotton’s Inn by the Harbour a pier-fronting former seven bedroomed guesthouse, bar and restaurant premises, which went for sale last summer guiding €565,000.
More recently, Mr Flynn has been linked to the purchase of the former Church of Ireland church on the way into Ballycotton, bought for an undisclosed sum from its US-based owners.
Preliminary sketches for a replacement boutique hotel, with just a handful of bedrooms in a three-storey build tentatively called The Cush, have been drafted by Kiosk Architects, and a company Flynn’s Cush was set up just last month with an address at the Pier, Ballycotton with director listed as a James Flynn.
Separately, plans are being drafted by Kiosk for the Flynn-purchased former Church of Ireland, with a craft shop/gallery events building in the limestone church building and with a new restaurant behind, with parking across the road by the water, with a proposed playground.
Not since the thwarted movie Divine Rapture (when Marlon Brando, Johnny Depp, John Hurt and and Debra Winger graced the roads of East Cork and Balycotton) have local investment and tourism payback hopes been so stirred.
Into this rarified air and upper echelons of tourist offerings by some of East Cork’s longest beaches comes the sale of a long-established B&B, Willoughby House, being sold by Midleton-based estate agent Adrianna Hegarty of Hegarty Properties for c€495,000. She says the immaculately-kept, and tastefully, decorated Bord Fáilte registered guesthouse may be bought now as a private home, as a going concern guest business, or find some other accommodating use.
In past years, guest have been tourists, as well as those attending the Ballymaloe Cookery School or weddings at the Garryvoe Hotel, whose owners also run the seasonal Bayview Hotel in Ballycotton along the bay.
On a half acre site just past Kilkenny Design and Stephen Pearce Pottery, Willoughby is a big, wide dormer build on a half acre of gardens with lot of parking, plus large outdoor patio with BBQ. Internally, it has a sitting room, dining room, study, kitchen utility and six bedrooms (two upstairs), of which five are en suite.
VERDICT: Be in like Flynn: rising tide may lift many boats at Ballycotton and Shanagarry.
Shanagarry, East Cork
Size: 278 sq m (3,000 sq ft)
Best Feature: Rising tide
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