Little piece of seaside heaven in West Cork for €595k
Land of Lyre, Aughadown Skibbereen, West Cork €595,000
'What's our favourite thing about living here?" Valerie Stevenson muses aloud to her husband, Gerry. "Peace, tranquillity," she concludes. "You can't hear any- thing." Land of Lyre is a beautifully restored country farmhouse overlooking Roaring Water Bay in Aughadown, West Cork. Bought by the couple nine years ago on their retirement, it was a long way - in every sense - from their former home in Sandycove, Dublin.
What Land of Lyre did have in common was that it was near the sea. Having lived in Sandycove, Gerry and Valerie knew they wanted another coastal property.
"Couldn't live without it," Valerie declares. "We were looking around coastal properties and we were going to rule out West Cork, because it's too far from anywhere. But we fell in love with this house."
The former owners had transformed the property, renovating the old milking parlour and pig sty, which are now a kitchen and studio, and linking them to the main house by a corridor overlooking the courtyard. Valerie and Gerry added a few new features: a balcony, which allowed them to fit a storage unit underneath, and a new kitchen, which "looks old", Valerie laughs.
"She had one which was bits of old cupboards and things," she says, of the previous owner. "Absolutely beautiful if you're an interior designer but not very helpful if you're trying to clean it."
The couple also restored the coach house, which would be suitable for storing a boat in. They also upgraded the heating system, installing oil-fired central heating and underfloor heating on the ground floor.
Despite a strong English accent, Valerie has lived in Ireland for 46 years. She first visited with her parents 48 years ago.
"I kept a log of the holiday and I said Ballydehob was an arty crafty place then. I got as far as Glengarriff, and sent the boy in the next door flat in Norwich a postcard. I knew he was Irish. He came in to thank me for it, asked me out and we got engaged 18 days later."
Now, Valerie and her neighbour-turned-husband, both in their 70s, are downsizing, not with huge enthusiasm it must be said. "I will mind an awful lot. It's such a beautiful house. We have this balcony where we can see out to Roaring Water Bay and the mountains nearby. I have a polytunnel, I do my own gardening, we keep a pony for somebody else, it's just lovely.
"We're only moving because we've got to that stage where we haven't had very good health, it's too big a house. You try cleaning the floor," she laughs. They plan to stay in the area. "The neighbours are fantastic. The local community down here is lovely," Valerie explains.
"The attention to detail throughout the whole thing is beautiful," says Maeve McCarthy of Charles McCarthy estate agents, who is handling the property.
The property sits on 2.5 acres, with beautifully maintained gardens, a paddock, and a field containing Valerie's polytunnel, an orchard and a fruit enclosure. "The thing that's very special about it is the courtyard," Maeve continues. "They have a walled courtyard that you come into to enter the property. It's like an outside room. It's cobbled with a nice central raised bed."
The kitchen, with an Aga set in an inbuilt elm arch, has a long lantern window and skylights. Leading off the kitchen is another room, which would work as either a home office or a playroom. The living room has a recessed, Charnwood wood burning stove. There are smaller rooms off either side of the living room including a utility room and bathroom.
The first floor comprises a main bathroom and three bedrooms. The master bedroom gives out onto the balcony through French doors, with steps leading down to the garden, which enjoys stunning views. All upstairs rooms have vaulted ceilings and beams.
Land of Lyre is roughly eight kilometres from Skibbereen and just over five kilometres from Ballydehob. With a school bus stopping at the bottom of the road, this would work as a family home, or for a couple retiring who want room for visitors. There is broadband access and plenty of room for home offices.
Era: Period farmhouse
Size: 232 sqm
Agent: Charles McCarthy (028) 21533
Viewing: by appointment only