Se­cluded niche in Sandy­cove

The days may well pass swim­mingly at Sandy­cove’s Blue­bell Cot­tage with its is­land views, says Tommy Barker

Irish Examiner - Property & Interiors - - Property | -

TO­DAY, some 400 swim­mers en­ter the River Lee’s tidal wa­ters in Cork city cen­tre, to swim the c 2km route un­der nine bridges from the North Mall to the Lee’s south chan­nel, by City Hall.

It’s likely many of them have been train­ing hard, for much the year or all year around in the sea at Sandy­cove — one of the hardy homes of Ire­land’s year- round sea swim­mers, where they do laps of Sandy­cove Is­land, come hail, rain or jel­ly­fish.

With its rel­a­tive prox­im­ity to Cork and even more so to Kin­sale Sandy­cove has been put on on a far wider map (or, chart) than hereto­fore: that’s thanks to so many ac­tively en­gaged in­di­vid­u­als now em­brac­ing our mar­itime bless­ings, be it surf­ing or sea and lake swim­ming, of­ten with ten­ta­tive first steps and strokes due to the now-wide avail­abil­ity of neo­prene wet­suits.

Wet­suits en­cour­age novices to dip a toe in the wa­ter of an ev­er­ex­pand­ing range of out­door ac­tiv­i­ties, but once ‘hooked’ many go on to take im­meri­sion to a new level, strip­ing back the pro­tec­tive neo- prene and swim­ming in togs, ir­re­spec­tive of the weather, in wa­ter tem­per­a­tures from about a chilly 5 de­grees up to a balmy 17 de­greescel­sius.lesser­soulsmight be tempted by the lat­ter end of the tem­per­a­ture spec­trum.

Right now, there are whole pods of sea swim­mers most days at Sandy­cove, nu­mer­ous as shoal­ing mack­erel, and many alumni have gone on to do swims ei­ther solo or rely on the English Chan­nel. In fact, Sandy­cove is spo­ken of in some awe, in much the same terms as famed open swims in Zurich, Man­hat­tan, Gi­bral­tar and Catalina, and Cork swim­mers go to those ex­otic lo­ca­tions, and ex­otics come, per­ish­ingly, to Cork.

A lap of Sandy­cove Is­land is 1.3km if you hug the shore, or 1.8km if you take a wider berth, and given the slight el­e­ment of crazi­ness in­volved, it’s prob­a­bly not sur­pris­ing to find the club has come up with badges of hon­our for those who have done 100 laps, 500 laps, and over 1,000 laps.

Cosy and snug above all the fre­netic ac­tiv­ity is Sandy­cove’s pret­tily-set and pic­turesque Blue­bell Cot­tage, up a steep boreen from the slip and park­ing area, and its ex­tra bit of height means it has views not just of the wa­ter, but over the is­land and past Kin­sale har­bour mouth, to­wards the Sov­er­eign Rocks by Oys­ter­haven.

It evolved out of an orig­i­nal, tiny two-roomed pre-war cot­tage and grew in the 1980s to the size it is now, a shade over 2,000 sq ft.

It comes to mar­ket for its cur­rent own­ers who fell for Kin­sale’s charms decades ago, and now are re­turn­ing to the UK: it had been on the mar­ket for a pe­riod back in 2012, and now has re­turned for sale in the same price ball­park, €775,000, as it was guided at in ‘12.

Sher­ry­fitzger­alda­gen­tjohnny O’flynn says Blue­bell Cot­tage is beau­ti­fully po­si­tioned and taste­fully ex­tended, with main liv­ing spa­ces and sun rooms set to max­imise the views down over Sandy­cove and its is­land, which is home in the main to rab­bits and feral goats.

It has two re­cep­tion rooms, one ef­fec­tively a largely-glazed sun room open­ing to a deck, three/four bed­rooms, or op­tional study, kitchen, util­ity, hall, and links over to a good-sized garage elec­tric roller doors, and with con­sid­er­able up­grade po­ten­tial.

Over­all con­di­tion is ex­cel­lent and spans some fine hand­i­work and tim­ber join­ery, with some be­spoke ra­di­a­tor cov­ers, in­ter­nal fea­ture ceil­ing beams, pan­elled walls, oak fire sur­round sourced from a storm wind­fall in the UK, with old fea­ture brick in­sert. In ad­di­tion, there are oak work­tops and oak butcher’s block in the oak-floored kitchen with Belfast sink and Range­mas­ter oven.

There’s also ex­ten­sive li­brary shelv­ing, and lots of stor­age op­tions un­der eaves. Bright­est space is the front re­cep­tion/ sun room, with southerly and east­erly as­pect and wal­nut floor.

Set on one-third of an acre, el­e­vated and reached at the end of a steep shared drive, Blue­bell Cot­tage has low-main­te­nance grounds with raised beds, and rock­eries and pa­tios, and is set just 5kms from Kin­sale by car, or a lit­tle more ar­du­ous a route by boat or by swim­ming strokes.

VER­DICT: Im­merse your­self in a shel­tered niche, at the south­ern-most tip of the Wild At­lantic Way.

Sandy­cove, Kin­sale, Cork € 775,000

Size: 193 sq m (2,085 sq ft) Bed­rooms: 3/4 Bath­rooms: 1


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