Passage West cottage will float your boat for €480,000

Victorian two-bed at water’s edge lovingly restored with impressive results

  • Address: 1 Bath Terrace, Glenbrook, Passage West, Co Cork
  • Price: € 480,000
  • Agent: Colahan Downing
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In the early years of the Victorian period, just as Bath Terrace was being built, everyone was mad for the benefits of bathing. There were public baths at the end of the terrace, and owners of the little row of houses, which have gardens reaching right down to the sea, were in prime position to take advantage of them. The baths are long gone, but the terrace remains, and while you can’t trot along the street for your steam bath, No 1 Bath Terrace has another secret that should be good for both body and soul.

1 Bath Terrace, Glenbrook, Passage West, Co Cork
1 Bath Terrace, Glenbrook, Passage West, Co Cork

The owners, taking full advantage of the private slipway at the bottom of their garden, have installed a completely brilliant vertical boat lift, so you can sail or motor off by sea at the drop of a hat. Think about it: Glenbrook in Passage West is just 20 minutes drive from Cork city at off peak times, but when the traffic’s heavier, you can nip over by boat. You can tie up outside the Clarion Hotel, I’m told, and if you go at a good lick, it takes about 20 minutes.

Equally you can spend weekends in Crosshaven or Kinsale without opening your front door. On days when you prefer to spend your time on dry land, you can still soak up all that ocean loveliness as the pretty garden has a patio at the house end, and a deck on the waterfront, which makes it hard to believe the current owners could possibly wrench themselves away.

They agree entirely, but their growing family has stretched the charming capacities of this 212sq m (2,278sq ft) house to the max. With an official two bedrooms, there are a further two at the top, with sweet sloping ceilings and marvellous views. The top floor has a shower room while, on the first floor, the main bedroom has its own dressing area, and shares a bathroom with the other bedroom.

“A lot of work went into the house,” says Jackie Cohalan of Cohalan Downing, who are handling the sale at a guide price of €480,000. She runs through some of the history of the house: “In 1836, it was a private home with its own private bathing space. Then around 1850 it was a girls’ school, but it had just six boarders. They paid 6 guineas a quarter, or something like that. In late 1970s a vicar lived there. It changed hands over the years, and while it was always maintained, at some stage you have to reinstate and invest.”

The owner takes up the story. Her husband had bought the house before they met, and had it rented out. “He’d been telling me about it, but I’d never seen it, and then, when the tenants moved, we thought, Maybe we could live there.” And so began a labour of love, restoring what the owner rightly sees as a historic piece of Cork. Where cornicing was too badly damaged to mend, she photographed the house next door and had it replicated. Flooring from an architectural salvage firm in the UK patched up the pretty tiled hallway so seamlessly you can’t see the joins.

Wood panelling was restored, the shutters mended, and modern amenities such as insulation and zoned heating added. The owner recalls a feng shui expert coming to the house to visit her horticulturist husband. “We were glad when she said all the plants were in the right place, but she recommended hanging weights to balance all that water out to sea!” The weights from the original sash windows were called into service, and make a nice touch, anchoring the house to its own history.

“I love it all,” says the owner. “It’s all so unique, and every room has something that’s 200 years old.” You can see this in charming details, such as the tower feature to the back of the house, oval windows and cast-iron fireplaces. An exceptionally sympathetic extension to the rear gives you a very spacious kitchen, with range, island unit, sitting and breakfast areas. There’s also a diningroom and TV room separate to this. Passage is a super spot. It’s a five-minute walk to the Passage Ferry to pretty Cobh with all its amenities and lively arts centre. There’s so much to float your boat.