This restored farmhouse called Providence Manor, is according to local legend, one of the West Cork safe houses where Michael Collins found shelter during the war of Independence.
Sq m 306 ( 3,300 sq ft)
The South African owner, who bought the Leap property in 2010, has been told by neigbours that Collins used the property for shelter and also to hold court cases dealing with informers.
The story gained credence when the builders found a small secret room off the bathroom during the renovations.
Now used as a walk in wardrobe, he thinks this could have been created to allow the rebels to hide from the British.
Almost 100 years on, the property is both the same and totally different. Although it looks,as it could be a new build, the thick old stonewalls of the original farmhouse are still there, underneath four inches of external insulation.
“We kept the footprint exactly the same although we have added a conservatory,’’ says the owner, explaining that an adjoining section of outbuildings had already been converted into living space by a previous owner and has since been turned into a second, but adjoining property.
Aiming to preserve the footprint and the character of the farmhouse, he retained not just the original walls, but also the ceiling beams, the stairs, and a huge old fireplace in the sitting room and decorated in as traditional a style as possible.
Born of Irish parents, the owner and his sister decided to move to Ireland six years ago. He wanted two properties which were separate, but together and this one fitted the bill.
Renovations took three years and were carried out by a Castletownshend builder who used a German external insulation technique to ensure energy efficiency and also installed underfloor insulation in most rooms.
Now extending to 3,300 sq ft of living space , the property consists of the original two-storey farmhouse with three bedrooms and an adjoining one bed home in the wing at the side.
Sheltered at the sides by mature trees, Providence Manor sits on a half acre site and has a landscaped well-planted front garden as well as a back garden with vegetable plots, fruit trees, a glasshouse and chickens.
The largest room in the farmhouse is the sitting room with oak parquet flooring, ceiling beams and a Inglenook fireplace fitted with a stove. Next to this is a kitchen with sheeted ceiling and a modern oak kitchen with a breakfast bar and stainless steel appliances.
There’s a conservatory where the owners observe the stars through a telescope, as well as a groundfloor bedroom with ceiling beams and parquet flooring, a bathroom and a workshop at the rear.
Upstairs in the original farmhouse there are two bedrooms and a gleaming white bathroom, which has a corner bath, a shower cubicle and a large island unit in the centre, and is probably the most modern room in the house.
In the wing at the side, accommodation includes a number of long narrow rooms including a sitting room with a kitchen with modern gloss units and a bedroom .
A walk through wardrobe from the bedroom leads to a the bathroom. There’s also a utility room and above it, a mezzanine area used as a study.
Enclosed by walls and bounded on one site by a large garage, the front garden has stone features, paving, and a multitude of plants, shrubs and flowers.
“We wanted a wild Irish garden.’’ says the owner, who grows potatoes, beans, peas and other veg, keeps chickens, and in season gathers pears, apples and blackcurrants in the back garden.
Located at Corran, Providence Manor is located four kilometres from Leap and around 12k from Skibbereen.
Seeking offers of €545,000, auctioneer Henry O’Leary says this is a fabulous property which offers a variety of different options.
“The second property could be used for family or guests or could be rented out or the whole property could be bought as a large family home.
He expects local interest and also from abroad. It is the type of property which could appeal to UK buyers.
Verdict: Space, comfort, home grown vegetables and a great story to tell dinner guests
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