Cute West Cork cottage overshoots €189,000 asking price

Restoration of cottage was a labour of love involving family and friends, writes Catherine Shanahan
Cute West Cork cottage overshoots €189,000 asking price

Sarue Cottage, Rosscarbery

Rosscarbery, West Cork



66 sq m (710sq ft)







A COLLEAGUE in search of a house with a functioning kitchen and flushing toilet was responsible for the purchase in 2005 of Sarue Cottage by Clonakilty native, Claire Murphy.

“During an extended lunchbreak myself and a colleague went to look at a house in Reenascreena. It was still Celtic Tiger days and the estate agent’s sole sales pitch was “mind the third step”, because there was none.

“My colleague wasn’t interested because it didn’t have a functioning kitchen. He said ‘You buy it’. It was as simple as that.” 

Claire, an architectural technologist at the time, now a Special Needs Assistant, hired a builder in 2006 and was in by September 2007. Prior to that she’d lived over De Barra’s bar in Clonakilty and one of her favourite features in her home is the vintage radiator that De Barra owner, Bobby Blackwell gave her as a housewarming present. She also loves the bespoke sash windows and half door that Skibbereen-based joiner Nick Kottler made, as well as her kitchen counter top.

Claire Murphy at the half door of her beloved cottage
Claire Murphy at the half door of her beloved cottage

The ceramics and artwork in her home are the work of another friend, Kate Fitzgerald of the Loft Gallery in Clonakilty and David Blake, furniture maker in Bandon, did a loft of the soft furnishings. The 66 sq m cottage was a labour of love, from start to finish, involving family and friends, who helped out with the restoration, stripping out floors and stripping off plaster, after which Claire "put everything back the way I wanted it, including the third step", while also installing underfloor heating on the ground floor.

She had a hole blown in a kitchen wall and a glass door installed, looking into what used to be an adjoining outhouse with lovely original brick. She used it as a utility - but it's adaptable, she says.

Claire also had plans to plant an orchard on her 0.59 acres, but didn’t get around to it.

"I made the house sing, but I am hoping the next owner will make the garden sing," she says.

She had thought Sarue Cottage would be her “home for life”, but circumstances changed after her mum, Sheila, caught Covid-19 last year and sadly passed away in April 2020. Claire is now moving to Clonakilty to keep her Dad Conor company.

Claire's favourite view from her home
Claire's favourite view from her home

Con O’Neill, selling agent with Sherry FitzGerald O’Neill, Clonakilty, says there’s “very strong interest, particularly among first time buyers” with offers already well over the €189,000 AMV.

Mr O'Neill says he had similar strong interest for another restored cottage that came to market about a year ago, particularly from first time buyers looking for a permanent home.

"It wasn't really where you expected the interest to come from, but the final bidding for Auburn Cottage (featured in these pages at the time) near Enniskeane was all first time buyers," he says.

Auburn Cottage
Auburn Cottage

"It really caught us by surprise and in the end, it went for €325,000," he says, which was €50,000 over the asking price.

"It shows that when a proper restoration job is done, homes are very attractive to buyers," Mr O'Neill added.

VERDICT: Everyone dreams of owning an idyllic Irish cottage and this one will move pretty quickly.

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