Agent Andy Donoghue of Hodnett Forde expects overseas/returning ex-pat as well as local interest in this Clonakilty home.
Size: 254 sq m (2,734 sq ft)
There are times when visitors to Clonakilty don’t even realise that the progressive West Cork tourism town is actually on the coastline, so little glimpsed is its water frontage.
However, get your bearings and go out the Wild Atlantic Way road south-east the three or four miles to South Ring, skirting Clonakilty harbour, and the town’s now-overlooked port pedigree comes into focus.
Here at Ring, there’s a pier, a quay, many moorings, fishing, a proud village community, and three bars, one of which, Deasy’s, is a constant presence in lists of best places to dine on the Irish coastline for its seafood.
Access for boats to the sea from South Ring, dependent on tide and wind, is along a very narrow inlet and over a sand bar running to the eastern end of Inchydoney Island and its golden beaches: on a strong southerly wind, it can take a bit of skill and bravery to negotiate.
Ring’s setting is all part of the story of Arundel Mills, the name attached to this early 1800s-built Georgian-style home with feature slate hung walls, and ties to the flour mills that worked here at Ring in previous centuries.
As it comes to market for the first time in decades and only in a handful of times in its near-200 years of history, it is described as “a fine piece of important local history,” by agent Andy Donoghue of Hodnett Forde, who expects overseas/returning ex-pat as well as local interest.
He is selling for two sisters, one a Mercy Order nun, who have cared for it and its acre of grounds for much of their lives and “they are now offering the property to its next custodian,” Mr Donohue comments, and he guides at €425,000.
It’s a bit of a veiled beauty, appearing very dry for its venerable years, and runs to c 2,750 sq ft of Georgian property and architecture, plenty big enough for a family home, but not so big you won’t use all of it either.
It is right at the back boundary of its acre, up against a field in someone else’s ownership, with roads on two sides and its entrance is right on to the junction by the water.
It has pristine private grounds in front, whilst a circular drive gives access to old lofted coach-houses, now cobble-floored garages, showing real old age and character.
There’s also a tiny feature pond and shrub beds, all overlooked by a recently-added gable sunroom extension, while across the drive in the walled ground, there’s a very old orchard with as clutch of lichen-covered fruit trees.
Lewis’s Topographical Dictionary of Ireland 1837 notes “the village of Ring is remarkably well situated for an extensive trade, but, except the export of slate, the only business carried on is in grain, potatoes, and flour, to facilitate which several very capacious stores have been built, connected with which is an extensive flour-mill; 5000 bushels of wheat and 1000 tons of potatoes are annually shipped.”
The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage dates Arundel Mills to 1810 and describes the three-bay, two-story hipped-roof dwelling as “associated with a flour mill, now demolished, to the south, this miller’s house is a reminder of the wealth and prosperity which that industry once brought to this area.
"Its prominent siting makes it a notable building in the landscape. Though some features have been replaced, its wonderful slate hanging remains.”
Slate, as a weather-proofing cladding option features extensively in Kinsale and at Clonakilty’s Emmet Square.
Internally, the four-bedroomed Arundel Mills is in good order, with two well-sized reception rooms (one houses the kitchenette in a corner) but is dated decoratively.
Heavy drapes, pelmets and floral flounces darken key windows and arches: even the simple expedient of removing them will brighten it up immensely.
It has had replacement windows, has LPG gas central heating, and some attractive internal features too, such as fan-lit and internal arches in the L-shaped hall.
Some might be tempted to get permission for some new windows for all-important water-framing views, past the tidy garden and the entrance pillars topped with painted plaster swans, while real swans glide on the tides, 50 metres further away.
VERDICT: Heritage home.
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