Wednesday 17 January 2018

Rectory with links to the Lusitania

Kinsale's Old Rectory has history seeping from 18th-century walls

The Old Rectory in Kinsale, Co Cork is for sale with an asking price of €1.35m.
The Old Rectory in Kinsale, Co Cork is for sale with an asking price of €1.35m.
A poster calling for Irishmen to join an Irish Regiment after the sinking of the Lusitania off the coast of Kinsale.
The conservatory of the Old Rectory in Kinsale, Co Cork is for sale with an asking price of €1.35m.
The dining area of The Old Rectory in Kinsale
The kitchen
A fireplace in the Old Rectory

Eithne Tynan

There were some 1,960 passengers and crew aboard the RMS Lusitania when she was torpedoed by a German u-boat on 7 May 1915. It took less than 20 minutes for the ship to sink, 11 miles off the coast of Kinsale.

Most of the bodies of the 1,197 casualties were never recovered. Of the 289 who were found, a reported 169 were buried in mass graves in the old church cemetery at Queenstown (Cobh), others were repatriated, and some were buried wherever they washed up around the country.

But three of the dead were carried in a sad procession up Church Square in Kinsale, to be laid to rest in the grounds of the 12th century St Multose Church.

Two were the ship's nightwatchmen who were buried together (one with his name misspelt on the monument). The third was a then still unidentified woman, described as "unknown victim (woman) of the Lusitania outrage 7 May 1915". In fact she was newlywed Margaret McKenzie Shineman. Her bridegroom also perished in the disaster; his body was recovered in Co Clare and he is buried in Carrigaholt.

The rector of St Multose Church at the time, who would have solemnly watched over these interments, lived in a Georgian house at nearby Rampart Lane - a property that would once have been linked to the church grounds, but is now divided from it by other houses.

The site on which the former rectory stands is still secluded though nothing of the property is visible from Rampart Lane beyond the former coach house and a high stone wall with a double electric wooden gate set into it.

It's said to have been built in the mid-18th century, although not a listed building, and it was extensively refurbished about 25 years ago, preserving period features such as sash windows, panelling and ceiling plasterwork.

The main entrance takes you into the side of the house, and the total floor space within is 3,391 sq ft, on two floors, with four or five bedrooms in the main house and two in the converted coach house on the grounds, which is now a self-contained two-bedroom lodge.

The house itself has several reception rooms. The first of these is to the left of the entrance hall on the ground floor. It's a dual-aspect dining room or drawing room with a bow window and a fireplace.

Behind this is a slightly bigger lounge with a marble fireplace, and opening off the lounge is a bar that gives onto a deck overlooking the garden.

Off the bar is a utility room opening into the kitchen at the back of the house, where there's a tiled floor, painted wood cabinets and granite countertops.

The kitchen itself is linked to two other reception rooms - a timber conservatory with doors to the garden, and a family room with a fireplace containing a blue enamel wood-burning stove. Finally, there's a study just inside the front door, with a built-in desk and storage.

The first floor has a second study, just in case more than one member of the family has something to learn, but if not, this room might be pressed into service as a bedroom instead.

There are four other bedrooms on this level, one of them en-suite, together with two bathrooms on the return. The master bedroom has floor-to-ceiling built-in-wardrobes as well as a walk-in dressing area, and the en-suite has a bath and separate shower.

On the grounds is a self-contained two-storey lodge consisting of an open-plan living and dining room with a glass door opening into a separate kitchen on the ground floor, and upstairs, two bedrooms and a bathroom.

Adjoining the lodge is a games room, and there's also a detached garage and carport.

The site is a little under half an acre, and the garden is to the north of the house and sunken below it, so there's a flight of steps leading down to the lawn.

There was once a tennis court on this lawn but it's been removed - probably sensibly, in view of the fact that there's a bar so very nearby.

The lawn is surrounded by mature trees and shrubs, and there are good views of the rooftops of Kinsale from the site, although despite the elevated position, there are no views of the River Bandon.

You can reach the water very easily on foot. It will take less than five minutes to walk down to Kinsale's main street, and from there to the banks of the Bandon is only 100 metres. It may take longer to walk back up though, as it's uphill most of the way.

The Old Rectory, Kinsale, Co Cork

Asking price: €1.35m

Agent: Savills in Cork (021) 427 1371

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