If it is authenticity you’re after, Auburn Cottage, in Maulbrack West, is the real deal.
Lovingly and sensitively renovated and restored, it truly is picture-postcard, with no need for Instagram filters.
Hard graft and craftsmanship are the hallmarks of this project which began in 2015 when William O’Halloran bought the cottage.
This was after a couple of months of painstaking work as they restored it to its natural state.
Fortunately, Mr O’Halloran, with a background in farm work and what he describes as “hard landscaping” had the requisite skills.
“We bought it as “turnkey” but actually, there was a lot of work to be done,” he says.
Fixing a leaking chimney and boiler were on the “must-do” list, as was hacking the plaster off one bedroom wall which had been dry lined, leaving no scope for it to breath, creating a musty smell.
The hacking exposed beautiful old stonework.
“The room was transformed and healthy as a result,” he says.
Previous occupants added a blockwork extension in the ‘70s which is now the main kitchen/living area, with the three bedrooms in the older part of the house.
When the O’Halloran’s moved in, the kitchen was long and narrow, with a hallway that was “a waste of space” so they took the doors off the hinges to see what a more open plan area would look like.
It looked well. So they took down walls.
“The entire living section was gutted and we put in new floors and ceilings that were sympathetic to the house. We discovered a brick arch that had been covered up and largely destroyed and we restored it with recycled bricks,” Mr O’Halloran says.
They also installed reclaimed oak floors using old building beams imported from the US by O’Flynn’s Flooring in Douglas Woollen Mills.
In addition, they hacked the plaster off a gable end wall to expose more beautiful stonework.
Mr O’Halloran then turned his attention to the garden, a labour of love for a man whose day job is with Wildwork ( a not-for-profit initiative of local development company Secad), designed to “bring wildness back into people’s lives”.
He subdivided the acre on which Auburn Cottage sits to create a hay meadow for local cows to graze on; an organic vegetable garden; a fabulous wildflower meadow, as well as planting native woodland and somehow turning what was a gravel drive into a charming country boreen.
“When we bought Auburn Cottage it was a “for life house”, but this opportunity came up,” he says.
Plus he has all of the learning of the cottage project to help him with the next one.
“It was almost like an apprenticeship. It will really stand to us. I just hope whoever buys Auburn Cottage will value it.”
Auctioneer Con O’Neill of Sherry Fitzgerald O’Neill reckons the €275,0000, 854 sq ft house, could sell as “anything from a family home [Kilcoleman National School is less than 500m away] to a lifestyle property”. He would not be surprised, he says, if it attracted buyers in the UK market.
The cottage is just off the main Clonakilty to Bandon Road. It has a detached garage with floored upstairs area.
VERDICT: Quality craftsmanship and appreciation of nature are the hallmarks of this charming property.
Enniskeane, Co Cork
Size: 79.4 sq m/854 sq ft