On a sunny summer’s day, and with a scent of Provence in the air, ‘Cnoc’ has it all and Mór in a tasty package, says Tommy Barker.
Size: 185 sq m (2,000 sq ft)
Best feature: barnstorming
THERE are rich harvests, thanks to agriculture and the pharma sector, to be seen from this reworked, pristine farmhouse and small holding.
Set amid rich pasture land, and fields of barley, the views and setting are pure rural, in a well-tended farm belt a few miles from Kinsale and above the River Bandon at Ballywilliam.
But, also in the view from the land thanks to its elevation is the generally-hidden pharma base of multi-national Eli Lilly at Dunderrow, where it has been a visually unobtrusive (but enormously significant in economic and employment terms) presence for over 35 years.
Lilly employs over 1,000, between full-time and contract workers, and just last month confirmed its plans which had been put on temporary hold at Christmas, to go ahead with a further €200 million bio-tech facility.
That spend will spill over into the overall Kinsale and Co Cork economy. Might it also bring a buyer to Cnoc na Mór?
Whether or which, two broadly different buying types may be interested in what’s on offer.
Some will be into the quality of this upgraded and extended farmhouse on its own terms, others will be more into what’s outside the doors, with barns and outbuildings and six acres of land to play around with.
Those who like both sides of this Good Life/Country Life equation, house and extras, will be smitten, and will just have to raid the piggy bank to the tune of €775,000 or so for this lifestyle offer, by Kinsale’s back door, less than a half hour’s commute from Cork city and airport.
Cnoc na Mór comes to market with local Kinsale agent Josie Dinneen, acting jointly with Lawrence Sweeney and Michael O’Donovan of Savills, covering all the bases between them, with a property that comes to market stunningly presented, after a whirlwind of last minute details and finishing off.
Gleaming fresh are some of the trio of old stone outbuildings, all freshly re-roofed in black corrugated steel on top of a Tyvek membrane on stout timbers, while much of the buildings’ sandstone walls have been carefully re-pointed with what looks to be lime render.
New heads or lintels over windows and doors are in freshly sawn seasoned timber, and all have new floors, power supply and are as well finished inside as out.
The buildings form a generous courtyard around the double-roofed and slated farmhouse, c 100 years old but now in the best shape it has ever been in, thanks to a diligent and sensitive investment over the past decade, done by a vendor who has several property refurbs already under his belt: the experience and expertise shows.
Facing onto a narrow country hilly lane called Dempseys Hill, with a grass stripe down the middle, the two-storey c 2,000 sq ft house is said to date to 1920, so it appears the stone buildings fore and aft would predate it, almost certainly 19th century in origin.
One, the smallest, houses a pump house and store, which also accommodates the water filtration, and the drinking water is said to taste tip-top for purity.
Running along the front boundary is a low-slung, c 35’ long workshop on two internal levels, with new concrete floor; again it’s all tidied up externally and finished out under its new tin roof, with power supply, lighting, and more.
But, the honey of them all is the lofted stone barn, with its tiny yet eye-catching randomly placed windows and internal shutters, its new doors and access point, front and back.
It’s had a superb re-pointing job, new roof and timbers, new everything inside practically, and has been rendered inside.
A provisional plan was to convert it as a guest cottage, but instead it’s been taken this far, and crowned with corrugated. What use will the next owners make of it?
On a sunny day, one can imagine the feel in this property’s rear patio and graveled courtyard would be quite Provencal, with outdoor seating and low screening walls, as well as planted up herb beds with chives and sage, and raised veg beds with salads, beetroots and fruit bushes being tended, and lots more beds for fresh planting yet to come. Drifts of lavender would complete the rosy Provencal picture....!
And yet there’s more to come and savour. Further back on the grounds is a traditional mid 1900s single-bay steel barn, with lean-to making it c 45’ square, and it’s currently used for a store for drying timber, and sheltering a caravan rather than a tractor.
Given proximity to Kinsale, circa 5kms) a new owner might find it a handy building to store a boat in.
For those seeking to make a property work for them, or to work from a property, the back of this site also houses a large portable building/office/store, well removed from the house and with a separate gravelled drive along the southern boundary leading to the barn and portable building so as not to impinge on the house’s main approach.
It all adds all the more to the ‘utility’ of this quite aesthetic country mix, while the balance of the six acres is laid out in three well-fenced paddocks, so again a buyer in the hunt for a property close to Kinsale suitable for keeping horses will find much to like here.
Right now, it’s being grazed and used for rearing and fattening cattle, so there’s hobby farm home hunters also likely to come into the mix.
“Imagine what you are getting here in this total package for €775,000, say if you were selling up in a place in the city like Rochestown but wanted to enjoy a rural family life?” asks Savills’ Lawrence Sweeney, and that’s before he addresses the possibilities or prospects of a few sites for houses in years to come, as there’s lots of road frontage, to two country roads.
Changes to restrictive planning regulations on ‘locals only’ clauses is bound to increase the market for locations like this?
Let’s not overlook the existing house, however, it’s a sterling example of thoughtful refurb and extension, now practically double the original house’s size thanks to the rear, two-storey add on under the back half of the double hipped roof.
Both sections, plus the add-on front porch, are topped with decorative terracotta roof ridge tiles.
External rough-style plaster is painted a cheerful yellow or butter colour, windows are hardwood and double glazed, and this, and insulation upgrades plus a large wood-burning stove in the oak-floored lounge help Cnoc na Mór get a C2 BER.
Overall, it’s a four-square roomy build now, with four rooms at ground, and four bedrooms above, and has three bathrooms, one a guest WC off the utility, the other an en suite with the master bedroom which also has two large wardrobes, plus main family washroom.
The two front bedrooms have long, distant country views, and the back bedrooms have a double aspect, one with views down over the countryside to the ‘Lilly’ fields and plant.
Materials used within are pretty much off the natural palette, so there’s wood floors and stone tiles floors, the porch has thick flagstones, and some internal walls are exposed and pointed stone too, while bathrooms tiling is tumbled marble.
As seen in the stone barns, some of the lintels over doors are hefty new seasoned timber, and the mantle around and above the stove is untreated oak, while the stairs is in turned pine.
Decor and maintenance is high-order, and the house has a skirt of pristine Indian sandstone abutting fresh gravel, while some of the French drains around the barns have cobble stones, and stone steps and paths.
Native Irish hedgerows with white thorn and large ash trees grace the boundaries, and a whimsical, winding garden path has recently been created between bending willows, adding yet more to enjoyment of this considered reimagining of an Irish farm cluster.
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