Ultimate seafront hideaway in west Cork for €1.95m
Castletownshend’s Rocket House, once coastguard cottages, is now a luxury waterfront home
- Address: The Rocket House Castletownshend West Cork
- Price: € 1,950,000
- Agent: Charles McCarthy
Last year saw a growing trend of Irish buyers wishing to relocate to west Cork, and it appears that the trend is set to continue this year. There has been a particular surge of interest in coastal homes, and those with sea views command the highest interest and prices.
Actor Saoirse Ronan is reported to have spent €800,000 for a property in Foilnamuck between Schull and Ballydehob, and a waterfront property, Glaisin Alainn, sold for €1.225m late last year.
The Rocket House in Castletownshend ticks quite a few boxes for anyone in search of a luxury holiday home – or indeed for someone wishing to relocate – on one of the rugged peninsulas set at the edge of the Atlantic on the west Cork coastline.
One of the major benefits of this property, besides its idyllic location tumbling down to the shore, is that the house stands at the edge of the picturesque village of Castletownshend, which is renowned for its three remarkable Harry Clarke stained-glass windows in the local St Barrahane’s Church.
Dating from 1841 and designed by architect William Atkins, the cut-stone property was originally built as six coastguard cottages to house six families. It was renovated 50 years ago and turned into a family home by the Chavasse family of nearby Seafield House; a 790sq m (8,500sq ft) Georgian pile which – though now withdrawn from the market – was for sale seeking €5 million in 2019.
The property takes its name from the flares that were fired from a small building at the edge of the water, which still stands in the 0.75 of an acre gardens.
At the turn of the 18th century, rocket launchers were used to fire ropes to assist ships in danger, particularly those who had damaged hulls after collision with the treacherous local Stag Rocks. The ropes were then used to haul sailors and passengers to safety.
As a result of these shipwrecks, the location holds major appeal for scuba diving enthusiasts, in particular the wreck of the SS Asian, a 420ft steamship that sank in 1924 and now lies on the sea bed at a depth of 20m, and the Kowloon, one of the largest shipwrecks in the world.
Of unique maritime interest is a stone marking in the gardens bearing the etching: Ordnance Survey Mark No 1 dating from 1811, which is a permanent benchmark and point of reference by which Irish sea levels can be measured.
The property has two moorings, one of which is deepwater and the second is a running anchorage – an especially valuable asset for sailors and fishermen alike. Castlehaven Bay, which the property overlooks, is a safe sheltered spot compared with other anchorages in west Cork – and because of this – the location is a very popular sailing destination. In summer months, Atlantic Sea Kayaking offer moonlit canoe trips that begin at dusk, where on clear nights kayakers can paddle under starry skies flanked by bioluminescence from the plankton in the waters.
A particular feature of The Rocket House is that all of its bedrooms, of which there are seven (including a self-contained guest wing), overlook the water, as do the reception rooms, allowing wonderful maritime vistas of the sheltered harbour.
The decor is one of relaxed elegance, and some of the rooms have a distinct maritime feel with blue and white palettes, rattan flooring and driftwood lamps. Several of the bedrooms feature vaulted ceilings with exposed beams that serve as a reminder that the property is almost 200 years old.
The dining room and conservatory are both located in bay-fronted rooms overlooking the water, and each has access to the gardens.
The grounds are quite remarkable and, critically, are sheltered from prevailing westerly winds by high stone walls and plantings, while also giving privacy from the property next door. Lawns run down to the waters’ edge and are bordered by mature shrubs, fruit trees and raised beds that thrive in the temperate west Cork climate.
Two sunken sun terraces provide shelter on windy evenings for al fresco dining.
A small potting shed called the Look Out lies at the water’s edge and it would make a remarkable home office, although the outstanding views would make it difficult to concentrate. There is also a boathouse to accommodate all the accoutrements of marine pastimes.
The village of Castletownshend is home to two restaurants and pubs and a shop for local provisions. A sailing school a short stroll away will be of interest to families keen to keep children occupied during the summer months.
The vibrant market town of Skibbereen, 8km away, is where the farmers market that has been running for 20 years offers food, plant and crafts from local producers. Operating every Saturday whatever the weather, it sells everything from seaweed soaps to chickens and vintage goods.
This impressive 418sq m (4,500sq ft) waterside home has been frequently used as a holiday home by a UK based family since 2008, but with family grown it is now on the market through estate agent Charles McCarthy seeking €1.95 million.