Baltimore Cork period-styled home for €1.2m on 23 acres is almost new, but 'as good as old'

Can a replica ever match an original? Homage to the past is paid here by a respectful modern-build,  Georgian-styled beauty with patina of age acquired after just 20+years, and with gardens to match
Baltimore Cork period-styled home for €1.2m on 23 acres is almost new, but 'as good as old'

Even better than the real thing? This faithful copy of Georgian grace was done by an architect who knew his history. It's now for sale, guiding €1.2m on 23 acres, with special facilities for horses

Baltimore, West Cork

€1.2 million

Size

325 sq m (3,500 sq ft) on 23 acres

Bedrooms

4

Bathrooms

4

BER

C1

THERE’s an age-old aura to this Georgian home and mini-estate, near West Cork glory spot Baltimore – but, not all is quite as it seems.

The patina of age is here, but that’s down to design and detailing, such as the use of architectural salvage, ironmongery and brasses, as the bare bones and building blocks behind only go back a quarter century or so.

Triple aspect drawing room
Triple aspect drawing room

In real terms, it’s a thoroughly modern home, but done with almost  puritanical attention to scale, proportion, aspect and setting, with gardens and planting to match.

Then it has a lime-render looking facade in a sort of rich, butter-hued shade, symmetrical, simple and with an elegant exactly scaled fanlight glazed Georgian-era inspired front door.

Gardens are  match for the period home feel
Gardens are  match for the period home feel

Georgian in just about everything but age, this late 1990s-built house at Rath, or Rathmore just off the road from Skibbereen to Baltimore and near Reenarogy Island, has been lived in from the day it was built over 20 years ago by a low-key couple, one-half British, one-half German, and who have lavished love, care and cash on it, in varying degrees.

And, then,  time has added further to it.

Hall with glazed fanlight and door, and stone-flagged  floor
Hall with glazed fanlight and door, and stone-flagged  floor

Now trading down, their joy and pride is just on this summer’s market, carrying a €1.2 million price guide with estate agent Andy Donoghue of Hodnett Forde, who says it’s one of the best West Cork listings in recent years, with a very magical air.

The location is just few kilometres from holiday and boating mecca Baltimore, near the access road to Reenaroga Island which is home to a number of waterside millionaire mansions and hideaways, and not too far away either is the uber-exclusive Inis Beg retreat and hospitality complex. It’s also very close to the Sibín bar/restaurant, near where the rail line ran to Baltimore decades.

The setting is on the inland side of the main Skibbereen to Baltimore Road, so it’s a good few hundred metres from the water’s edge, and across a road from it too, but it’s close enough to get the all-important 'tang' of the sea at.

Rathmore home near Baltimore is guided at €1.2m by Andy Donoghue of Hodnett Forde
Rathmore home near Baltimore is guided at €1.2m by Andy Donoghue of Hodnett Forde

On 23 acres, with walled and formal gardens, glasshouses and raised veg and flower beds, it’s also set up for hobby farm and/or horses, sheep and other livestock, with stables,

manège, and even an automated, circular horse-walker in a section (the vendors have been into equine pursuits and laid out some of the land for the niche equine activity of carriage driving, with harness horses.

It’s all about the sum of its parts, then, given there’s an almost modestly-sized main residence, at 3,500 sq ft but with only a handful of ground floor rooms within it – the couple opted for pleasant proportions in the kitchen/dining room and the sole, main reception room, at 22’ by 18’, with the two main bedrooms above an equal size (one of these bedrooms resembles a first-floor library/den, in fact).

A first floor bedroom/study with fireplace
A first floor bedroom/study with fireplace

So, it’s essentially the size of a classic ‘gentleman’s residence’ of the day, only with addition of an annex wing which holds three small first floor bedrooms plus bathroom, WC and shower room, while back at ground the annex holds a utility, back hall, services and a boiler room, with a simple corner sun room to the front, less than 10’ square.

In overall terms, it would be ‘out-roomed’ by many a modern Irish home or even lots of dormers built in the past 25 years: there’s absolutely no excess.

The value, though, is in the simplicity and the aesthetic, and integrity.

About the only give away that you’re not in a 200-year old immaculately-restored Georgian home is in the thickness, or the lack of it, of the exteriors walls.

They’re just the standard thickness of other cavity block-built homes, it appears, yet thanks to a wide splay in the walls either side they are able to accommodate working shutters to add an extra insulating dimension to the hand-crafted, Georgian-style small-paned six-over-six timber sash windows.

The windows, unusually, were crafted with just single glazing panes, to maintain the thinness associated with period originals: now, that’s attention to detail.

Sunny side out. Or, in?
Sunny side out. Or, in?

It doesn’t stop the property getting a pretty good C1 BER though, and for any next owners perhaps thinking of upping the BER and, comfort levels even further, advances in glazing technology mean super-slim, high performing double glazing is now available, almost indistinguishable to the gauge of old single panes.

The original architect was a West Cork ‘blow in’ of decades back, the late Wycliffe or Winky Stutchbury who lived in Union Hall and whose daughter Bena is also well-known: both Stutchbury names crop up in a lengthy Vanity Fair magazine interview four years back with actor Jeremy Irons in a feature on his restoration of Kilcoe Castle, across the waters of Roaringwater Bay.

File pic of  Jermey Irons' Irons Kilcoe Castle on Roaringwater Bay. Pic Denis Scannell
File pic of  Jermey Irons' Irons Kilcoe Castle on Roaringwater Bay. Pic Denis Scannell

Following the death of Mr Stutchbury (who’d also overseen the restoration of David Puttnam’s Georgian West Cork home), the couple later apparently used the services of Clonakilty based architect Michael Shanahan to oversee the delivery of their vision, and after the passing of several decades, it appears even more convincing of being older than its relatively callow years.

Much of that is also down to the detailed and expansive planting of hundreds of trees, shrubs and formal garden layout. 

Puzzled? Just how old is this Monkey Puz;le tree
Puzzled? Just how old is this Monkey Puz;le tree

A Monkey Puzzle tree in one setting appears at least to have half a century of growth, but just about every tree was positioned here by the vendors, who have detailed lists of what’s been planted, where they are planted, and their provenance.

Architectural salvage, from joinery items to brass door handles, were widely sourced, at home and abroad, while ceilings have relatively plain cornice plasterwork, and some of the ground level is floored with stone flags. There are good, stone fireplaces too, with a wood-burning stove fitted in the triple aspect reception room’s limestone piece.

Glimpse of a walled courtyard garden
Glimpse of a walled courtyard garden

Selling agent Andy Donoghue says there’s a seamless flow from the house, out to the internal walled courtyard and on to both walled gardens (the Hodnett Forde website has an eight-minute video which spends as much time meandering outdoors as it does inside), and he adds that “the shelter and ambiance of these is unparalleled on the West Cork coastline, while the mature display of planting is a joy to behold.”

As it stands, while there’s lots of property and buildings, some old, others new, and great facilities for horses especially, some buyers at this price level might seek to add another few rooms, especially for a large or growing family.

It’s almost certain to be bought as a full-time home, not as a second or holiday base, both because of the range of facilities, includes a  lofted barn with six stables, haybarn, tack room, carriage house, workshed and the amount of time needed to enjoy and  use them, and to maintain them to a high standard.

As there’s so much outdoor space, some 23 acres with all-weather manège, and outbuildings (some of the structures are upgraded old farm structures, so the property does have some authentic, deep roots) there may be some commercial use made in the future if more residential accommodation is added: the setting justifies sharing.

!

VERDICT: a precision, period property, but not all is quite as old as it seems.

More in this section

IE_180_logo
Price info

Subscribe to unlock unlimited digital access.
Cancel anytime.

Terms and conditions apply

Lunchtime
News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up
Revoiced
Newsletter

Our Covid-free newsletter brings together some of the best bits from irishexaminer.com, as chosen by our editor, direct to your inbox every Monday.

Sign up