Tuesday 22 October 2019

This 200-year-old farmhouse is a charmer, and its price has fallen by €48,000 since last year

Rose Cottage, Clonamery, Inistioge Co Kilkenny €279,000

Rose Cottage
Rose Cottage
Bridget Rowling outside Rose Cottage with her sister Betty
Rose Cottage
Rose Cottage
Rose Cottage
Rose Cottage

Campbell Spray

Charm, that's what it is all about. A simple word meaning so much. We're not in the realm of a little bracelet ornament, nor in the orbit of the person who could get the hind legs of a donkey to commit hari-kari. Rather we are in its original fashion of 'a spell…' (or) 'that something that can please irresistibly'.

And that's what a 200-year-old small Kilkenny farmhouse a mile or so outside the historic and very beautiful village of Inistioge has in spades. The warm, inviting, rather magical home oozes period charm and stands on a third of an acre. It was literally a labour of love for vendor Bridget Rowling and her builder husband Tommy, who died a few years ago.

When Bridget and Tommy bought the house in 2003, it had been derelict for decades. With the help of a nearby builder, they rebuilt the inside, slightly reshaping it but keeping the period feel and making the most of its thick walls - Bridget is now an expert plasterer and wall builder. There are still exposed beams 18 inches above my six foot in the living and dining rooms, which take up the front span of the house and are jointly heated by a solid fuel stove.

However, when the sun beats down, the rooms give a cool refuge.

At the back of the house, there is a good-sized, square kitchen that could do with updating and, on the other side, an en suite bedroom with French doors to a terrace on the left of the house.

There is planning permission to extend on the other side but developing a long, bright space off the bedroom could make more sense.

Upstairs there are three good-sized bedrooms and a slightly dated bathroom. The two rooms at the front have original windows, two of them intriguingly low, and it would be a child's delight to lie down and look across the valley of the Nore to Mount Alto and the wonders of the Woodstock Estate, a lovely spot with rose gardens, walks and a magical waterfall.

The house stands high above the valley with Mount Brandon to the rear. Bridget tells of looking across the Nore every morning and seeing the ethereal mist rising from it. Local lore says that if it moves down river, the day will be good, but if it heads upstream to Inistioge, watch out.

One of the wonders of the house is a beautiful, light-filled studio that stands to the right of the house. Now a bit of a jack-of-all-trades room, it would be an ideal space for an artist, a therapy room or a lovely retreat. And it is here that Bridget sometimes goes with a glass of wine to reflect on her next challenge.

In front of the studio, a wonderful treehouse built by Tommy for his grandson Marcus, now 19, is used by another grandson, Ollie, five.

Bridget, who lives with her son Paul and their dogs, talks of lovely neighbours and an amazing feeling of safety in her home, which lies on the back road that is part of the Kilkenny to New Ross cycle way.

However, she feels that now is the time to move on, perhaps to Thomastown. "There are just too many memories, too much hard work. Everywhere, I am reminded of what I and Tommy did," she recalls wistfully.

She wants to stay close to Inistioge and it is easy to see why. It is a beautiful old village of history, restaurants, craft shops, pubs and the ruins of a 13th-Century Augustinian priory.

Twenty years ago this month, a dolphin was rescued as it swam up the river towards the village. Inistioge was the home of two recipients of the Victoria Cross, and the setting for films including Circle of Friends, Widows' Peak and Cecelia Ahern's Romantic Road. It is also the homeplace of the great hurler Eddie Keher.

Whoever inherits Bridget and Tommy's home will have purchased both a retreat and a wonderful new life.

It seems a bargain for a house that has been reduced by €48,000 since it launched to market last year. Rose Cottage has a rare charm.

Era: c1810, remodelled 2013

Agent: Green Door Properties (056) 7789670

Viewing: By appointment

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