From rock ’n’ roll retreat to religious reawakening in west Cork
David Bowie and Paul McCartney are rumoured to have stayed in this Clonakilty home, which has been owned by two musicians, while the White House in Rosscarbery is a substantial home commissioned by a rector in the 1920s
David Bowie and Paul McCartney are reported to have stayed here. Noel Redding, a former member of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, was a past owner, while one of the current owners includes 1980s teen idol and songwriter Nik Kershaw.
Dunowen House, a six-bedroom, 402sq m (4,328 sq ft) period house, six miles from Clonakilty, has been extensively renovated over the years but maintains its rich rock ‘n’ roll heritage with a quirky rock chic interior.
From Art Nouveau chandeliers to freestanding baths and four-poster beds in some bedrooms, to a grand piano in the living room and an integrated sound system throughout, it’s the kind of place you’d imagine the Rolling Stones would have jumped at in their heyday.
Following the death of previous owner Noel Redding a decade ago, several people got together to buy the property, and between the purchase price and renovation, more than €2 million was spent on it. The idea was to let the house with chefs and staff but, with the recession looming, the property was first put up for sale in 2007/08 for €3.75 million.
Having been taken off the market, it has been made available for short-term rentals for the past 18 months, and is now back on the market with a reduced price of €895,000.
Speaking from his home in the UK, part-owner Nik Kershaw says there are lots of possibilities for the house. He visited the area on holiday and fell in love with the property and its back story.
Hard work completed
“We’ve done the hard work with the house. It was in quite a state when we bought it and we tore everything to pieces and put it back together again,” he says. “The big jobs have been done so it is only cosmetics now.”
Kershaw acknowledges the likelihood that he and his investment partners will lose a significant amount and that their plans for it to be run as a rental retreat, have been scuppered.
“The business partners went different ways,” he says. “We bought at the top of the market and what happened afterwards made it tricky. It will be a very good buy for someone. I am crying into my Guinness over here thinking about it. That’s the way of the world though – you win a few and lose a few.”
As well as the main house, there is a two-bedroom guest cottage, which needs some renovation, and extensive outbuildings, including the remains of a lovely old coach house, a fine cobbled yard and an old bell. A walled kitchen garden is at the back of the house, along with a mature orchard. There is potential to turn the main house and outbuildings into a boutique hotel, with some stunning beaches within walking distance. Alternatively, given the history of the property, it could work as an artistic retreat or as recording studios with accommodation. The drawbacks of the main house include a lack of natural light in some downstairs rooms, and a disappointing kitchen for a property of its size, but the heavy lifting in terms of the renovation has all been done.