Unusual market arrival in Skibbereen farmhouse

Tooreen, Skibbereen, West Cork  €270,000
Size: 110 sq m (1,200 sq ft)
Bedrooms: 2 Bathrooms: 3
BER: F
Best feature: County colour 

IT might have come all wintry outside in recent days, but there’s a blast of sunnier times inside this Skibbereen farmhouse, an unusual market arrival for a month like November: this is generally the sort of home that comes for sale with the daffodils, not with the holly wreaths.

Traditional enough looking from the exterior, there’s just enough different going on inside to give it a colourful lift and to banish grey clouds beyond. It’s immediately cheery, a cherished family home with select blasts of colour and good timbers – and will be even more so come spring, when the daffs come up in drifts by its welcoming sun-room/porch rear entrance.

Estate agent Maeve McCarthy in Charles McCarthy’s Skib office is confident enough that new owners could even be in situ here to see where the daffs do, indeed pop up (and it’s not too late yet to plant more bulbs). And as there’s two acres here, well, it could indeed be horticultural heaven for any green-fingered occupants.

She guides the modestly different farmstead offer (with early 1800s stone outbuildings, and a basic, tall galvanised shed/barn, plus child-friendly tree-house) at €270,000, noting it’s quite private as it’s at the end of a long country lane or boreen, off the Skib-Drimoleague road. The setting - about six miles from Skibbereen – will win many over, but it’s the standard and style inside that will probably be a deal clincher.

The owners both have Co Cork roots, one even grew up on Cape Clear Island, so they were both comfortable with vernacular Irish farm homes. But, after living for several years in an artisan home in Dublin’s Stoneybatter, they also got a taste for urban style. So, when tackling the makeover here about 13 years ago, they ‘nudged’ it gently into the 21st century, adding things like new bathrooms – the main one, with blue mosaic wall and striped side bath panel is a visual blast – plus an en suite master bedroom, all without destroying any original character.

Kitchen units will look familiar to many: they’re in solid beech timber from the Oliva range in the late and lamented Habitat shop, much missed in Ireland (Habitat’s departure from these shores was to IKEA’s early gains). The Habitat look carries over across several sides of the kitchen, including the large, double ceramic sink, contrasting with stainless steel cooker and appliances. And, for real hearth warmth, there’s a solid fuel Esse stove set into a stripped timber surround, with other stripped pine touches in the window architraves, and up on the ceiling in a quite novel (but original) timber strip pattern (see pic above).

“There’s an authenticity to this property which is incredibly rare; one has just to step into this farmhouse to fall in love with it,” says impressed agent Maeve McCarthy, adding that the two acres include a pond, stone bridge, barn for timber drying, hobbies or a pony, all with undulating country views.

Rooms within include a 20’ by 12’ main living room, with double aspect (all windows are double glazed hardwood), with oak floor and part-exposed stone arch over an old, adapted inglenook fireplace.

The kitchen also has an oak floor, while the utility room, sun-room/porch and ground floor shower room are slate floored. Other modern touches include oil central heating, and broadband – so, even though the boreen up to the door is long, the wider world and web is electronically on its doorstep.

VERDICT: A pre-Christmas cracker, a crisp take on the country classic.


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