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Waterside home that charms

1 Rockcliffe House Main Street, Ballycotton, Midleton, East Cork, €395,000

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1 Rockliffe House, Ballycotton, Co Cork

1 Rockliffe House, Ballycotton, Co Cork

1 Rockliffe House, Ballycotton, Co Cork

Sometimes it seems as if everywhere you go in East Cork there is a connection with Ballymaloe and the extended Allen family - and No 1, Rockcliffe House is yet another example.

The late Myrtle Allen is credited with having put this part of the country on the culinary map when she opened a restaurant in the dining room of her house in the 1960s. By sourcing all her produce from local growers, farmers and producers, she helped to foster a food culture that thrives to this day.

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1 Rockcliffe House, Ballycotton, Co Cork

1 Rockcliffe House, Ballycotton, Co Cork

1 Rockcliffe House, Ballycotton, Co Cork

Mrs Allen often did not write the menu for each evening's dinner until she knew what fish had been landed by the day-boats in Ballycotton, a practice that kept her kitchen team and those charged with hand-writing the menus on their toes until the last minute.

In 2011, when Mary McAdams bought No 1 Rockcliffe House, one of a pair of semi-detached three-storey houses dating from 1890, the vendor was Sacha Whelan - son of Myrtle and Ivan Allen's daughter, Wendy.

Whelan had owned the house since the mid-1990s, when he carried out an extensive refurbishment that included putting on a new roof and restoring the period features, including the shutters and stained glass. A skilled craftsmen, examples of his carpentry can be seen around the house - in the kitchen, for instance, and in the bathroom where a custom-built dresser takes pride of place.

On the ground floor, off the entrance hall, is an open-plan space with the dining room to the front, occupying the bay, and the kitchen to the rear. Under the stairs is a handy laundry room, and a back porch leads to the patio.

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1 Rockcliffe House, Ballycotton, Co Cork

1 Rockcliffe House, Ballycotton, Co Cork

1 Rockcliffe House, Ballycotton, Co Cork

The main living room is on the first floor, positioned here to make the most of the views out over Ballycotton Bay. Two large windows ensure that there is plenty of light - Mary says this is her favourite room in the house and she has a desk here so that when she is working from home she can 'be inside but see all of outside'.

To the rear, on the first floor, are a single bedroom and adjacent lavatory, while on the top floor there are two double bedrooms, both to the front, and a large family bathroom with a power shower installed by Mary in recent years. Among the other works that she undertook were the installation of a new zoned heating system and new windows.

Located on the Main Street, No 1 has a small strip of garden immediately to the front, and a patio to the rear. But the main garden is located on the other side of the road, just a few steps away.

"The garden was always there," says Mary, "but there was a tall hedge that blocked the view. I took that down and put up a low wall in Liscannor stone to open it up."

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1 Rockcliffe House, Ballycotton, Co Cork

1 Rockcliffe House, Ballycotton, Co Cork

1 Rockcliffe House, Ballycotton, Co Cork

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Mary applied herself to putting in a garden that would be attractive yet low maintenance, in keeping with the character of the old house and its location. With its spectacular views out over Ballycotton Bay, this is now a tranquil spot where Mary likes to sit in the morning with the paper, or share a bottle of wine with friends in the evening.

The cliff walk, pubs and restaurants - Pier 26, Skinny's Diner, The Schooner and the Field Kitchen at The Blackbird are some of Mary's favourites - make Ballycotton a lively spot, and Mary says she will miss being able to walk out of her front door in her slippers to the Trawl Door, a few steps down the road, to pick up the morning paper, good coffee and home-made scones to bring back to the garden.

"It's a small village," she says, "but I have found the community very welcoming and active. It manages to balance character and charm while still developing.

"The food culture in Ballycotton makes it easy to get great ingredients - the fresh fish is wonderful, of course, and the Ballycotton potatoes are famous! It really is a great place to live."

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Mary McAdams

Mary McAdams

Mary McAdams

Era: 1890

Size: 120sqm

Agent: Hegarty Properties (021) 4639411

Viewing: By appointment

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1 Rockcliffe House, Ballycotton, East Cork

1 Rockcliffe House, Ballycotton, East Cork

1 Rockcliffe House, Ballycotton, East Cork

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