Food for thought in this Kinsale getaway
53 Shearwater Kinsale, Co Cork €395,000
Agent: Casey & Kingston Auctioneers (021) 427 1127
Viewing: By appointment only
When it comes to the perfect second-home destination for a food critic, Kinsale, gourmet capital of Ireland, is surely the hot contender. And that's exactly where Sunday Independent food critic Lucinda O'Sullivan chose 10 years ago. An historic and cosmopolitan spot on the south-west coast that not only sated her appetite on countless occasions, it also provided a postcard-perfect backdrop for magical memories.
"Kinsale is a very special place and is a must-visit for nearly every American wanting good food. I went there first when I was 18 and my husband, Brendan, and I honeymooned there. It's also where my children took their first steps. We have been going to Kinsale forever," O'Sullivan reminisces.
When the Shearwater development overlooking the marina and inner harbour commenced construction, the family moved quickly to secure a 105sqm duplex penthouse apartment there. "The minute we heard that apartments were being built on the site of the old candle factory on Pier Road, we decided to buy. We felt that there wouldn't be anything else built there. The location is unprecedented, beside Kinsale Yacht Club and between two big hotels, Actons and The Trident," says O'Sullivan.
"You just have to park your car and you can walk out and enjoy restaurants and bars - it's a type of cafe society water life," she muses.
"We love the drama of the enormous open-plan living area on the first floor, with its double-height ceiling. You can sit and relax by the bay window, looking out across the rooftops at the boats."
Featuring nautical influences in the decor, the first-floor kitchen, equipped with fitted eye- and floor-level units and Neff appliances, has been used by O'Sullivan - just not too often. "I love cooking and entertaining and I'd often buy fresh food and plenty of wine when I'm in Kinsale. However, why would you cook too often there? All the restaurants are so good," she says.
But do the owners quake in their boots when they see her coming? "No, they don't. They're all wonderful. They know me for too many years."
The space afforded by the two bedrooms at entrance level was a big draw. With a bay window, the en suite master bedroom has a double-door built-in wardrobe, as does the second bedroom. There's a three-piece suite, with shower attachment in the shower room.
"It's more like a house than an apartment, with steps up to the totally self-contained duplex, which has access to a communal patio. You also have storage and your own space in the underground park," O'Sullivan outlines.
The duplex penthouse has ticked all the boxes for the family - location, space proximity to good food and blue flag beaches, as well as to the airport and Cork city. It also served as a beautiful base when visiting the south and south-west.
"We adore the duplex and Kinsale but we just don't get the opportunity to spend enough time there any more, we are so busy with my Great Places to Stay and Eat Guide, which involves constantly travelling to visit new places around the country. Also our sons have grown up and have busy lives," says O'Sullivan.
"It's a very special, different place, offering a lovely glamorous lifestyle. People always want to return to Kinsale. It's the pioneer of the food movement in Ireland and this year Kinsale's Good Food Circle will celebrate the 40th gourmet festival in October. It will make a wonderful home for someone downsizing or who wants a second home."
Sam Kingston of Casey & Kingston Auctioneers, the selling agent, says the property is in a highly desirable location and would be ideal for someone who wants to live in Kinsale year-round or as an investor who could use it as a holiday home.
He says: "Kinsale is an ever-popular tourist spot and the apartment can achieve up to €1,000 per week as a short-term let in the height of the summer. Its bright, spacious interior is highly attractive and its sale has generated a lot of interest from owner-occupiers and investors alike."