Chill: Take the backroads to Ballynoe's €695k homestead, horse and country life made easy

Hard to find, and harder to leave, this vastly upgraded and extended Ballynoe house north of Midleton has been brought to a very high standard
Chill: Take the backroads to Ballynoe's €695k homestead, horse and country life made easy

House, yard, sheds and outbuildings come with this Killasseragh, Ballynoe homestead, guided at €695,000 by selling agent Adrianna Hegarty

Ballynoew, Dungourney, East Cork

€695,000

Size

3,750 sq ft

Bedrooms

5

Bathrooms

4

BER

C1

MEMORY lane plays tricks, and, so too does the passage of time. It would appear.

New meets old
New meets old

The last time the Irish Examiner visited this Killasseragh homestead, with original dwelling dating to the early 1800s and set north of Midleton along old world back lanes and boreens, was back in 2003.

Revisting in 2022, there was no recall of this East Cork property’s market outing 19 years ago, mainly because it’s not at all the same house or cluster anymore. Today, it’s more than twice the size, is a world apart in terms of quality of what’s been built on and upgraded, rooms are all taller, and a number of the outbuildings also have been worked on, and reroofed, at considerable cost.

Killasseragh, Ballynoe
Killasseragh, Ballynoe

Height of style inside
Height of style inside

What hasn’t changed a tad is the setting.

Back in ’03, we wrote here of the property on 4.5 acres of good land that “Killasseragh lies amid the plains and rich, rolling tillage lands of East Cork, where the views are so sweeping you suspect half of the land has not been settled or occupied. The sense that there is land to spare is not accurate: farm sizes are huge, and the hinterland is discretely prosperous and best known to the horse and hunting set.”

When we revisited last weekend, it was also known to rally drivers: a stage of the Cork 20 Rally was held out this way Saturday last, with triangular navigation markers out along the quiet back roads and dips and folds and boreens.

We (I) still got lost, but going the long way around was no hardship: it’s simply lovely land, and the ’03 description of it as being “in that vast, but rarely traveled, web of country roads and forestry between Midleton and Fermoy, with views towards Tallow, on the Waterford border, and the Knockmealdown mountains as a backdrop” still pertains.

Kitchen with black four-oven Aga and island
Kitchen with black four-oven Aga and island

Now, though the view from the property that’s back for sale spans not only the Knockmealdowns, but also the Galtees to the west, and the Comeraghs to the east, as the two-storey new wing (effectively a whole new house) added to the original end gable, away from the leafy road makes the best use of the aspect, light and views. Its first occupants would have built for shelter “and been too busy farming to look at the view,” say today’s owners, as they now prepare to downsize.

An Irish/UK couple who’d done long years living in Australia, they moved out here from a family home they’d built near Ballymaloe looking for a bit more privacy and some land: the chance to have a pony swung the deal to what was then a basic enough do-er up for their young daughter, with over four acres of the railed paddock in front of the house, forming the foreground for the views over 20kms to the mountains of the Cork-Waterford-Tipperary Munster vales.

Son and daughter have now departed (one’s in Australia) and the parents are trading down, making a move to Dublin. 

Bright and happy landings
Bright and happy landings

What they are preparing to leave is a fully-finished five-bed home, old and new happily cheek-by-jowl, with old world charm in one half and the original stairs, and room and window proportions, while the newer, larger half has a feature mezzanine hall with open fire overlooked by a landing, and fresh, modern double and even triple aspect rooms, higher ceilings (10’). It’s bright, bright, bright, with a top-quality kitchen, with a black four-oven Aga, as cooking is valued here judging by the banks of cookery books.

To the manor born: hall with fireplace
To the manor born: hall with fireplace

The home is listed now for sale with Midleton estate agent Adrianna Hegarty, who guides the 3,700 sq ft walk-in order property at €695,000, but it may be a hard one to value, as the relatively remote rural location hasn’t many price precedents. When last offered in ‘03, as a basic enough buy, it was guided at €270,000.

Turns out the buyers knew the vendors and they swiftly agreed a price of just one single €1 over the asking price, to the chagrin at the time of the selling agent given it was a fast-rising market.

They had it surveyed by an engineer, just to be on the safe side but the engineer noted in any case ever before his report “it doesn’t matter what I say, you’re going to buy it anyway.”

He read his clients well, and they willingly tackled any jobs that needed attention, splicing floor joist, dampproofing, insulation and almost trebling it in size en route.

Work from home was rare back two decades ago, but even then it was suggested here that while “Killasseragh is ready for occupation, a new owner can do as much or as little renovation as their hearts and wallets permit. The out-buildings provide scope for working from home, or for running a business.”

Charm and practicality combined with old slate roof sheds conserved: lick of lime whitewash, anyone?
Charm and practicality combined with old slate roof sheds conserved: lick of lime whitewash, anyone?

Turns out to be an option still now, thanks to broadband, though one of the owners has commuted from here to Midleton (where the teenagers went to school) and then, after a job change, to Cork city, while the other has worked on the Corrib gas field on contract.

When not based in the northwest, he worked here, doing joinery, other carpentry, stonewall building, shed roofing, wall tanking, drylining with Delta membrane, the works. Oh, and he also built the large kennel/small shed for a Newfoundland pet, and a cob or clay pizza oven by one of the many picturesque outdoor seating areas….this is a couple not afraid of hard work.

Whoever buys now won’t have anything to do to the house itself: it’s comfort personified, with the upgrade and extension overseen by architect/technician Paul Hogan of Pat Cashman’s office in Midleton.

Purists might se

Courtyard cluster
Courtyard cluster

ek replace the tiles and PVC windows in the older section, done 25 year ago by previous owners whom it was sold by the friars at Mount Mellerary who’d been bequeathed it. But, that’s entirely discretionary, it just doesn’t look as attractive as the vendor-overseen newer section with its slate roof and bull-nose bricks forming a maintenance-free fascia.

All of the outbuildings, on either side and forming a lovely enclosure, now have good new roofs (thanks in one part to Hurricane Ophelia, done by local man Tim Pat Crowley), either in slate or quality ridged steel section with new timbers.

Main living room is triple aspect
Main living room is triple aspect

One lofted building used as a workshop with mezzanine could easily be turned to self-catering/Airbnb, guest or other family visitor use, subject to planning consents. The scope for work from home/workshops/crafts alluded to in 2003 all remains.

Beguiling features include the snug charm of the older two-bed cottage/farmhouse rooms with lots of retained features, old doors (some low), exposed ceiling beams and stairs, and rooms in this end include a formal dining room, a library and end room with stove in a part-filled inglenook, discrete home bar, sketching studio.

A bedroom
A bedroom

The newer, three-bed portion (there are two staircases) doesn’t jar in the least but ‘goes large’, and the very airy and hospitable hall’s a real scene setter, with its large fireplace, almost manor home in style, is graced by large brass rubbings of monumental brasses in UK churches, first done by the hands-on man of the house and now, it seems, Dublin bound as packing up time wheels around.

VERDICT: Perfect now for those seeking country living made easy, with ‘easy’ projects in finding new uses (lime whitewash the exteriors, anyone?) for the winsome outbuildings beckoning.

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