Bird Watching

Ahoy, great gazebo from €285,000 East Cork Coastguard Cottage

GUARDING against the depredations of smugglers and foreign invaders was the raison d’être of the Coastguard during the height of the British Empire and as quick response times were required it made sense that they lived near the sea.

For the most part, nothing separated them from the coastline they were charged with protecting (Ireland and Britain), so their homes were as close to the water as you would ever want.

No planner would today give the green light to build a terrace of houses on a beautiful windswept headland through which loops the South and East Cork Bird Trail, part of a more area of ​​international importance for bird life and wetland habitats.

However, when the cottages shown here were built, in the 1860s, the Irish planning system was still a century away and protecting the Queen’s income was far more important than preserving the oystercatchers or peregrine falcons. Nor was construction hampered, as it is today, by a “Locals Only” rule, which requires the family lineage to go back to the beginning of time to build in certain townlands.

Generally speaking, the easiest route to home ownership today near the coast is to buy rather than build. With that in mind, here’s one you might like, and as it’s the home of a former coast guard, you won’t get any closer to shore than that.

No 6, Coastguard Cottages, beyond the small East Cork village of Ballymacoda on the small rural peninsula of Knockadoon, is one of six Victorian-era cottages, surrounded at one end by a tall observation tower in stone.

In fact, the house for sale here is right next to this observation tower and, as the former captain’s house, it has a little more legroom than the other five (see number of windows upstairs).

The seller, Paul Boast, who is selling reluctantly, says the cottages’ walls are “massively thick, built to withstand bombardment” and the lookout tower is proof the pudding withstood a Fenian attack in 1867.

Mr Boast believes the row of cottages was connected by an interconnecting corridor at the time.

“There’s a lot of history attached to it and it’s a fantastic place to have a holiday home,” he says.

Ring Strand
Ring Strand

Mr Boast bought No 6 in 2016, after spotting it in the Irish Examiner (his wife, Catherine Mayberry White, has a relationship with Cork). The asking price at the time was €180,000. It is now on the market for €285,000, with Kyle Kennedy of Hegarty Properties, but a good job has been done in the meantime.

“We ripped out the bathroom and kitchen and replaced them in 2021 and installed a multi-fuel stove. We had the chimney replaced and we also reinforced the dyke,” Boast says.

They also installed a new wall in the long, slender front garden, which slopes down to Ring Strand, a favorite spot for pickers looking for periwinkle, mussels and seaweed, but also a lovely place to fish. , swimming and bird watching. . A nearby loop walk takes you along the cliffs of Knockadoon Head, which is a nature reserve.

Just above the beach, at the end of the garden at No 6, is a cleverly designed, sunken patio/seating area, sheltered for dining and a great gazebo on summer days.

Mr Boast, who is based in the UK, says there was no better place to enjoy their summers.

“We traveled back and forth across England to catch the ferry, and when we got to Ring Strand exhausted it was worth it, just to hear the sound of the sea at the bottom of the garden,” he says. he.

They had lots of great days at the beach and kept a boat in the garden that was out occasionally for boating. Great neighbors made their stay all the more enjoyable, says Mr Boast: “Where we were in the UK it was so busy, so it was nice to go to Ireland. Also, my wife’s family is from Carrigaline,” he says.

However, with age catching up with him – he and his wife are over 70 – the journey became too much, and so it was with a heavy heart that he put the house on the market.

Interest was instantaneous, says Mr Kennedy, and he already has an offer at the request of a potential local buyer, for use as a holiday home.

He adds that the cottages are in a fantastic location, full of character and with stunning sea views, enjoyed from the main daytime accommodation, which fittingly is upstairs.

The panorama from the living room extends over the whole of Youghal Bay and the glass doors lead to the kitchen-dining room, so everything is good and bright.

The sleeping accommodation (three bedrooms) is downstairs, with a bathroom and laundry room. There is a shed in the front, parking and a small garden in the back.

Mr Kennedy says first-time buyers are among those interested in the 1,000-square-foot property because of the price and it could just as well be a full-time home (most on the terrace are), like a vacation home. The energy class is D2.

For shopping nearby there is a general store/post office in Ballymacoda and the town of Midleton is 20km away. The town of Youghal is 17 km away.

VERDICT: If you’re looking for an affordable home in a unique coastal setting, this could be the signal you’ve been waiting for. Could be ideal for a couple just starting out or retiring.