Farmhouse in stunning West Cork surroundings can be yours for €285k
Built in 1890 Drishane Farmhouse takes advantage of the landscape
Durrus in west Cork is probably best known for its cheese. Jeffa Gill began production in 1979 and is seen as one of the early pioneers of farmhouse cheese-making happening at that time in Ireland. The milk comes fresh from the Friesian herds of two local farmers and the distinct flavour of Durrus cheese "reflects the elemental character of the west Cork land and the pasture washed by briny Atlantic rain".
The climate doesn't just influence local produce but also the landscape, with the mild weather allowing tender plants to flourish and trees suited to both hot and cold climates to proliferate alongside each other.
Drishane Farmhouse in Durrus takes advantage of this landscape, with dramatic views of the rugged coastline and surrounding countryside. The property was built in 1890 and like a good Durrus cheese, has only improved with age.
Dr Ann Geneva bought the farmhouse in 2009. When she bought it there had already been quite a lot of hard graft put in by a young Dublin couple. "Everything they did was top of the line," says Ann. "They put on a beautiful sun porch with a slate roof. It was let out as a holiday rental so I still had some work to do to make it a comfortable full-time home. There was no central heating, only electric heaters, and the windows were warped, so when there was a storm, snails and slugs would blow in."
Ann went about renovating the property and tastefully redecorating until she felt it was just right. Unfortunately now she has to leave all of her hard work behind and move out of the farmhouse because of the stairs. "I have recently begun to suffer from arthritis and I'm finding the stairs difficult. I think the time has come to move to the dreaded bungalow, but I will definitely be staying in the area."
One of the things she will miss most is the wildlife around the property. She often got a visit from a rare Irish hare and a bright, friendly pheasant.
Drishane is still very traditional in style and layout. The front door takes you straight into the living room which is a large area with a low, wooden beam ceiling, timber flooring and a large brick open fireplace. The kitchen is at the back of this room, and has a stone floor and fitted country-style units. Off this room is the newly-built sun room. With its stone flooring and panoramic windows, it would be a great place to take in the views, no matter what the weather.
There is a bedroom on the ground floor, which is currently being used as a study and it would make an ideal office for remote workers, who might be interested to know that although the house is full of old-world charm, it also has wi-fi. A bathroom completes the accommodation on this level.
An open staircase in the living room takes you up to the master bedroom, main bathroom and another double bedroom. The showcasing of beamed ceilings and exposed brick walls features throughout the house.
The grounds outside are mostly laid in lawn, with mature trees and shrubs providing privacy and shelter. There is an elevated patio to the side of the property which would make a great barbecue area. All windows are double-glazed, water comes from a well and there is a private septic tank.
The property is right beside Dunmanus Bay on the Mizen Peninsula. It is about 6km outside Durrus, which is a small west Cork village that lies between Bantry and Ballydehob. Durrus has plenty of restaurants, cafes and small shops, but for bulk shopping a trip to Bantry may be necessary. Supervalu in Bantry provides a delivery service to Durrus, so you could do all of your shopping online if you don't feel like making the journey. Nearby Schull has plenty of independent food shops, providing the best of local produce. Ballydehob, which is about 15 minutes away by car, is known for its health stores, and there is a Lidl in Skibbereen.
Cork city and airport are about an hour-and-a-half from Durrus and a car journey to Dublin will take just under four hours.
Things To Do
Access to the water at Carrigphilip Cove and Mucklagh Rock is close enough to make an early morning dip part of your daily routine. Walking is one of the biggest pursuits in this part of west Cork. The Sheep's Head Way walk has won awards for best walk in Ireland and is a 55-mile trail with different terrains and some of the best views you'll ever experience. The walk has many loops so can be as long or as short as you like.
The roads are quiet enough for cycling but there is also a route that starts in Ballylickey and ends in Roaringwater Bay near Ballydehob. It is signposted all the way and is 120km long.
Water activities are plentiful with surfing, kayaking, diving and sailing all available in and around Durrus.
For anglers, there are many fishing spots on the shores of both Bantry and Dunmanus bays. There is an 18-hole golf course in Bantry, designed by the late Christy O'Connor Jnr, with the bay providing an impressive backdrop.
Foodies will love this part of the world with a fantastic choice of local and artisan food from the farmers' markets in Schull and Skibbereen, or from the many independent food stores and small local restaurants.
Eating and Drinking
In Durrus, you can go casual or fine dining. For a special occasion, Blair's Cove House is a short drive away from the property and sits right on Dunmanus Bay. The restaurant is located in the farm buildings of the former manor house, and is renowned for its buffet starter table and wood-fire grilled meats. In the town there's a small brasserie called The Gateway that's attached to the grocery store and is very popular for brunch and lunch. The LongBoat Bar serves locally caught fish that you can enjoy al fresco if the weather allows, or stay indoors and listen to the live music. The Sheep's Head Inn on the main street is a traditional country pub with a decent bar menu and very friendly service.
West Cork has always had a wonderful mix of locals, ex-pats and blow-ins. It is very popular with Germans and Americans, and in more recent times, Dubs who have had enough of city life. And more people have made towns like Durrus and Schull their permanent homes, so there is a strong sense of community and lively atmosphere all year round.
What's Not To Like
When you invest in a holiday home, you want to use it as often as possible. It may just be a matter of getting used to it, but the drive from Dublin to Durrus takes about four hours, which is a long journey to face after work on a Friday evening.
Durrus, West Cork
Asking price: €285,000
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald O'Neill (028) 21404