Tommy Barker reports on this quality, ‘almost unique’ Blarney offering which is all things great and small
Blarney, Cork - €695,000
THERE’S an argument that says something is either unique, or it isn’t unique at all. A thing can’t be ‘quite unique’ ‘rather unique’, or even ‘a bit unique. It’s an all, or nothing, description.
Where, then, does that leave Thimble Hall. It’s unique, there’s no other home quite like it in Ireland, but ... it does have a carbon copy/mirror image in the US of A, in Knoxville, Tennessee, to be precise.
The couple that built Thimble Hall 20 years ago were on a visit to friends Stateside in 1995: as soon as they drove up to their hosts’ home, and parked in the attached/integrated double garage, they agreed “this is our house, we’re going to build the exact same back home.”
Which is exactly what they did, back home in Killowen, Blarney, in 1997 after they got planning for this big, burly, block and brick built replica home, well in off a quiet country road about a mile out from the world-famous village and its castle.
Their US friends put them in touch with their architect, who supplied the plans for Thimble Hall, aka Knox County meets Cork County, and they built to his design and layout: the only difference is the Tennessee home has a basement.
Stretching to 3,500 sq ft under its origami-like mix of roof shapes and profiles, Thimble Hall is a five-bed home, with as its centrepiece a central, double height great living room, with extra high feature arched window, cut through by a lofty mezzanine linking the four overhead en suite bedrooms.
The master bedroom suite is at ground level, with quite a large bathroom with walk-through dressing area, bath, shower and separated off WC.
Selling now to downsize, after 20 years of enjoyment, the owners say the name Thimble Hall came from a book and they liked the sound of something that simultaneously evoked images of ‘small,’ and ‘large’.
This version is both too, in a way, with not too many bedrooms and the core also has just several good-sized living spaces, especially the voluminous 17’ by 16’ main living room, with its to-scale large white marble fireplaces.
Another fireplace, smaller and gas fuelled, is in the cosier family room, which links the kitchen/dining area to the sunroom. Other rooms include a formal dining room, pantry and a utility, which links to the double garage.
What makes Thimble Hall distinctly and utterly Irish is the setting and the landscaping .
It’s being sold on three acres, where there was huge attention to landscaping and planting, and creating distinct or themed garden ‘rooms’ and sections.
So there’s herb/veg beds, decking with hot tub, shelter belts, a Japanese sand garden with koi pond and bamboo, banks of shrubs, long walks through trimmed lawns, a paddock suitable for a pony or two, and much delineation by many hundreds of metres of meticulously-kept beech hedging.
Equally, many hundreds of plants have gone in for colour and interest, and garden design was by the late Brian Cross.
Selling agent for Thimble Hall is Cian O’Donoghue of Lisney: he guides at €695,000, saying it’s perfect for families who’ll relish the amount and quality of space inside and outside, in a quiet and secure setting (electric access gates and much security) less than five minutes by car from Blarney, and about 15 minutes from the city fringes, as well as having easy access to Kerry.
VERDICT: Almost unique.
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