Rekindling memories on the Cork/Limerick border

Coach House on the Cork/Limerick border is a historic home that harks to times past, writes Tommy Barker.

Cork/Limerick border

Price: €249,950

Size: 1,400 sq ft on three acres

Bedrooms: 3/5

Bathrooms: 2


Then going to visit and list for sale this converted Coach House home near Ardpatrick, on the Cork/Limerick border estate agent Jer Colbert, of Michael Dorgan Auctioneers in Mitchelstown, had a parallel trip down memory lane.

A classic car enthusiast, he was driving his prized 1972 Ford Escort around a pronounced bend when he had a flashback to childhood family trips to west Clare, traversing this road as a ‘shortcut’ on dull evenings near Christmas. He recalled “rolling from the opposite side of the unbelted tartan backseat of my father’s Opel Kadett on the bend”. He was pulled back to more recent reality by a welcoming, warm glow from the Coach House, set against dusky hills.

“My Escort’s asthmatic heater slowly cleared the smallest ark of visibility as I rounded a similar bend to the surprise greeting, the deja vu of that fairytale warming glow that first caught my younger eyes. I finally got to see what was inside.... and I wasn’t disappointed,” enthuses Mr Colbert.

The modest and locally historic home, on three scenic acres with a stream, and barn and old stone outbuildings, had been taken on by an energetic couple, Brian and Jane, who threw themselves into its renovation. But they have since decamped to the sunnier climes of Australia, hence its sale.

After a programme of works, this Fanningstown, Ardpatrick, house has had significant insulation upgrades, has a new roof, and the main windows have been replaced with double glazing. It was all done with sensitivity to the house’s heritage, character, and foibles. Brian even added a few of his own, such as ‘multi-point’ locks and latches for ancient doors, among other creative solutions to on-site challenges, “while leaving untouched what gave this house the fairytale warming glow that first caught my younger eyes”, adds Mr Colbert.

It’s a sympathetic outcome, with plain layout across three levels, some with exposed and painted random-rubble stone walls, all stitched together by a wending, old staircase with hardwood rails.

It comes with two ground-floor rooms, one a kitchen with range, three first-floor bedrooms plus bathroom and separate WC, and two top-floor, attic-level rooms (which could push the bedroom tally to five).

South-facing, the Coach House is dry, with solid fuel central heating and a back-boiler. The grounds include a three-bay traditional steel barn, a stream, ornamental pond, mature trees, old stone-built carriage house, and the scenic location’s in a valley between the Ballyhoura mountains and the Castle Oliver estate, which once stretched to 20,000 acres. The restored mock-Scottish baronial Castle Oliver, built in the 1840s of local pink sandstone, just over the border in Limerick, hosted none other than Kim Kardashian and Kanye West during their honeymoon. It sold to Australian buyers for about €3m in 2015.

Estate agent Jer Singleton describes the area as being of outstanding natural beauty, with views and outdoor pursuits aplenty, from horse riding to mountain biking, hunting, and fishing.

It’s relatively convenient to both Cork and Limerick cities and airports in Cork and Shannon, and is less than a 20-minute drive to the M8, at junctions 13 and 14, while the strong towns of Fermoy, Mitchelstown, Kilmallock, Charleville, and Mallow are all within a short drive.

VERDICT: Price of a suburban semi-d.

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