Take the back roads to Ballynoe’s €695,000 farm, riding and country life made easy

MEMORY lane is playing tricks, and so is passing time. It would seem.

The new meets the old

The Irish Examiner last visited this Killasseragh farm, with an original dwelling dating from the early 1800s and located north of Midleton along Old World lanes and boreens, was in 2003.

Revisiting in 2022, there were no memories of when this East Cork property came on the market 19 years ago, mainly because it’s no longer the same house or group at all. Today it is more than twice as big, it is a world apart in terms of the quality of what has been built and improved, the rooms are all taller and a number of outbuildings have also been worked on and redone at considerable cost.

Killasseragh, Ballynoe
Killasseragh, Ballynoe
Styling height inside
Styling height inside

What hasn’t changed a bit is the decor.

In 2003 we wrote here about the property on 4.5 acres of good land that “Killasseragh sits amidst the plains and rich rolling working lands of East Cork, where the views are so vast you’d suspect that half the land has not been settled or occupied The feeling that there is land to spare is not accurate: the size of the farms is huge and the hinterland is quietly prosperous and mostly known horses and hunting.

When we revisited last weekend it was also familiar to rally drivers: a stage of the Cork 20 Rally ran this way last Saturday, with triangular navigation beacons along quiet side roads and dips , creases and holes.

We (I) got lost again, but making the long way was no hardship: it is simply beautiful land, and the 2003 description of being “in this vast, but seldom traveled, network of roads from countryside and forests between Midleton and Fermoy, with views of Tallow on the Waterford border and the Knockmealdown mountains in the background” is still relevant today.

Kitchen with four black Aga ovens and island
Kitchen with four black Aga ovens and island

Now, although the view from the property which is back on sale not only covers the Knockmealdowns but also the Galtees to the west and the Comeraghs to the east, while the new two-storey wing (actually a brand new house) adds to the original end gable, set back from the leafy road, making the most of aspect, light and views. Its first occupants would have built for shelter “and would have been too busy farming to admire the view”, say today’s owners, as they now prepare to downsize.

An Irish/British couple who had lived for many years in Australia, they moved here from a family home they had built near Ballymaloe in search of a bit more privacy and some land: the chance to have a pony tipped the case to what was then a fairly basic craftsman for their young daughter, with over four acres of railed paddocks in front of the house, forming the foreground for views for 20km to the mountains of the Cork-Waterford-Tipperary Munster valleys.

Son and daughter are now gone (one is in Australia) and parents are down, moving to Dublin.

Bright and happy landings
Bright and happy landings

What they are about to leave is a fully finished five bed house, old and new happily side by side, with old world charm in one half and the original stairs, and the proportions of the room and the window, while the newer and larger half has a mezzanine hall with open fire overlooked by a landing, and fresh, modern double and even triple aspect bedrooms, with higher ceilings (10′). It’s bright, bright, bright, with a top-quality kitchen, complete with four-oven black Aga, because cooking is popular here judging by the cookbook banks.

At the born mansion: hall with fireplace
At the born mansion: hall with fireplace

The house is now for sale with Midleton estate agent Adrianna Hegarty, who guides the 3,700 square foot property to £695,000, but it can be difficult to value it as the relatively remote rural location has no not many previous prices. When it was last offered in 2003, as a fairly basic buy, it was guided to €270,000.

It turns out the buyers knew the sellers and they quickly agreed on a price just a single euro above the asking price, much to the annoyance of the selling agent at the time, given that the market was growing rapidly.

They had it inspected by an engineer, just to be sure, but the engineer noted anyway before his report “no matter what I say, you’re going to buy it anyway.”

He read his clients well, and they gladly tackled any job that needed attention, connecting floor joists, waterproofing, insulating, and nearly tripling the size along the way.

Working from home was rare two decades ago, but even then it has been suggested here that if ‘Killasseragh is ready for occupancy, a new owner can do as much or as little renovation as his heart’s content. and his wallet allow it. Dependencies provide the opportunity to work from home or run a business.

Charm and practicality combined with old sheds with preserved slate roofs: whitewash, anyone?
Charm and practicality combined with old sheds with preserved slate roofs: whitewash, anyone?

This is proving to be an option even now, thanks to broadband, although one of the owners commuted from here to Midleton (where the teenagers went to school) and then, after a job change , to Cork City, while the other worked on the Corrib gas field under contract.

When not based in the North West he worked here, doing carpentry, other carpentry work, building stone walls, roofing sheds, laying walls, cladding dry with Delta membrane, works. Oh and he also built the large kennel/little shed for a Newfoundland pet and a cob or clay pizza oven near one of the many quaint outdoor seating areas…it’s a couple who not afraid of hard work.

Whoever buys now will have nothing to do with the home itself: it’s comfort personified, with the upgrade and extension overseen by architect/technician Paul Hogan of Pat Cashman’s office in Midleton.

Purists might see

Yard group
Yard group

ek replacing the tiles and PVC windows in the old section, made 25 years ago by the previous owners to whom it was sold by the Mount Mellerary brothers who bequeathed it. But, that’s entirely discretionary, it just doesn’t look as appealing as the new vendor-supervised section with its slate roof and bull nose bricks forming a maintenance-free fascia.

All the outbuildings, either side and forming a beautiful enclosure, now have good new roofs (thanks in part to Hurricane Ophelia, done by local man Tim Pat Crowley), either in slate or quality ridged steel with new frames.

The main saloon is triple aspect
The main saloon is triple aspect

A loft building used as a workshop with mezzanine could easily be converted into a gite/Airbnb, guest or other family use, subject to planning permissions. The homework/workshop/craft opportunities discussed in 2003 remain.

Attractive features include the cozy charm of the old two-bed cottage/farmhouse bedrooms with many features retained, old doors (some low), exposed beam ceilings and stairs, and the bedrooms at this end include an en-suite bathroom. formal dining room, a library and an end room with a stove in a partially filled cantou fireplace, discreet reception bar, drawing studio.

Room
Room

The new three-bedded part (there are two staircases) is not at all shocking but “goes big”, and the very airy and hospitable room is a real setting, with its large fireplace, almost manor house in style, is honored by great brass rubbings of monumental brass in British churches, first made by the house groundsman and now, it seems, bound for Dublin as packing time turns around.

VERDICT: Perfect now for those looking for country living made easy, with ‘easy’ projects to find new uses (lime whitewash exteriors, anyone?) for alluring outbuildings awaiting you.

Comments are closed.