What a setting — it’s been sought-after, for 800 years or so.
Kinsale, Co Cork
Size: 279 sq m (3,000 sq ft)
Best Feature: Artist’s waterfront Kinsale pad
This Ringrone, Kinsale location by the River Bandon has been home to a De Courcy castle on a defensive height since the 13th century, and more latterly to a ruined church, old graveyard and a handful of blessedly-located private homes.
Getting its name from the castle, and from the cove by its boundary (between a rock and a hard plaice?) is Castlecove House, at one time owned by rock and blues guitar master Rory Gallagher, and more recently home and studio to painter and artist Louise McKeon.
Clearly a place that inspires and responds to creativity, it is set to change hands after years in McKeon family care.
An extended and much adapted home going back to the 1960s, Castlecove House is a rare offer even in Kinsale terms, where many of the scenic and well-heeled harbour town’s best properties boast a list of superlatives.
Castlecove’s advantage? You only have to visit to appreciate them: it’s the setting, the water frontage, the aspect and views, the proximity to the town, and the fact there’s six private acres to be had too, with woodland, under the spell of a sliver of castle ruin, and all for under €1m.
It’s a late season offer with agent Ron Kruger of Kinsale’s Engel and Volkers estate agency offices, who guides the 3,000 sq ft five-bed home at €950,000, who says it’s large, and bright — and in an amazing setting.
That location is right by the River Bandon’s tidal stretches, favoured by fish and waterfowl alike, just 100m upriver of the ‘new’ Duggan Bridge over the river from the town to Castlepark, Sandycove and on to Ballinspittle, Garrettstown and Old Head. And, to have six acres with two acres of woods here? Wonderful.
The locale is much-appreciated by passing occasional dolphins, and by seals, and by the odd otter, says appreciative owner Louise McKeon who moved back here around 1990 after a number of years living, learning and painting in Japan .
Some of Louise’s work, clearly inspired by that immersive Japanese sojourn, adorns this home today, along with finds and furniture brought back from the Far East.
As well as being a family home for her daughters who are now nest-fleeing, this Co Tipperary-born artist has used the house as a productive studio, and for child and adult art classes, so it has been widely admired and been a stimulus to creative expression through two decades.
Earlier, too, if you include Rory Gallagher’s ownership in the late 1960s or 1970s, in the early days of his band Taste. It’s not clear if he lived here much, though, as he didn’t drive and the ‘new’ bridge only came on stream in 1976.
The tastiest room in this quirkily-configured big dormer home (which needs updating, but the siting justifies almost any extra outlay) is the first floor living room, about 26’ by 24’, with high, vaulted ceilings and beams; its feature tall arch window sucks in the views up the River Bandon. Sunsets? You’d revel in them, paint them, bask in them.
This upper level is also home to a bathroom and two bedrooms (or, optional studio), with up to two ground level reception rooms, kitchen/dining with stove, four ground level bedrooms, one with dressing room with salvaged stripped pine units, en-suite and garden access.
You could throw a stone, or a breakfast scone to the swans, from the house to the water, where there’s a small steep slipway for dinghy and canoe launches.
There’s also a strip of beach, depending on tides, and many hundreds of feet of water-frontage, with pathways up through the several acres of woodland, planted about 15 years ago, and with a few favoured vantage points.
One or two points include views up past the road, to the precarious remains of the 13th century castle, one of two De Courcy Kinsale castles (the other is at the Old Head).
This sentinel ruin is reduced to a single sliver or finger of wall, standing like a Jenga block, refusing to bow or blow down - just yet.
VERDICT: A great canvas for final flourishes.
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