News center
Boasting modern processing equipment

Bantry €425k farmhouse rescued from dereliction is a lesson in how to create a home: Do It Yourself

May 05, 2023

Bantry lifestyle home with buildings and 0.75 acre. Agent Henry O'Leary guides at €425,000

Bantry, West Cork



222 sq m (2,350 sq ft)







THOSE looking to take advantage of the latest, and improved Government grants for doing up vacant and derelict Irish houses can take comfort and some inspiration from the rescue performed at this West Cork farm homestead, particularly if they are prepared to learn on the job.

Just up for sale is this long and lofted farmhouse and buildings, at a scenic rural spot a few miles inland of Bantry Bay, under what's known locally as the Bull Rock at Glounathnaw: it has been a long labour of love for UK couple Ray and Jean Cain, who bought it in a derelict state in 2001, at a time when it had been empty for a decade or two, and housed cattle.

Ray, a structural engineer from Surrey, had worked in steel and welding, while Jean from Dorset worked front-desk with Kent Police, witnessing some pretty harrowing scenes in her job.

They decided to relocate to Ireland, initially house seeking from Mayo down to Tralee, but fell for Bantry, paying "80,000 punts," as Jean recalls, for a derelict two-up, two-down with roadside barn, selling two properties in the UK to fund their move after rearing a family of three daughters.

"We’ve had 21 very happy years here," says Jean as she now prepares to sell the lifestyle home they did just about everything to, with some exceptionally fine joinery work, all done by Ray who added exacting joinery standards to his skills working in steel, doing all of the timber work in high quality American white oak, from furniture to kitchen, bathrooms, doors, floors, the lot.

"Ray's father used to encourage him quoting ‘there's nothing you can't do,’" Jean recalls in admiration of his skills and dedication (he raved about the long views to the sea while redoing the roof!) and says she's only reluctantly selling to return to the UK after Ray's sad passing away in recent times.

The home they worked on is a testament to vision and skill, says selling agent Henry O’Leary who describes the work done as "a rescue". He guides the adaptable 2,350 sq ft home, with lofted workshop stable, office and store on c0.75 of an acre at €425,000, saying it's "tastefully presented and substantially extended." The bulk of the hands-on work was done over a three-year period with the couple living in a caravan at the start until it was basically habitable, and the work continued piecemeal then, along with upgrades until it was signed off on finally in 2016, with detail heaped upon detail. It's a walk-in job.

Or a sit-down one? One of the novel features is the joinery in the bathrooms, with a broad seat, and cistern and pipe cover work crafted around one of the loos, a proper throne (pic, above right) and a talking point whenever guests get to sit in splendour.

The home's got a quite a distinctive layout too, with a first floor main living/dining room with access on a gable end to steps to the grounds, while at the far end a bedroom also has similar outdoor steps on a gable: this upper level also houses the characterful bathroom (double sinks also sit on a hefty large stone plinth) along with a second bedroom.

Down at ground, there's a double height entry hall with polished concrete floor, old Rayburn range, an oak and copper pipe spindled staircase ringed by a landing above, main bedroom with en suite, office, triple aspect sun room/dining room, utility, shower room with glass block screen and a store room, while the real feature is the kitchen.

Here, Jean and Ray found a lovely stone arch that had been plastered over and they opened it up and revealed the stone work, creating an alcove for a wide range cooker and Ray made curved units and worktops, topped with speckled granite tops, while the floor has reused large flagstones.

The home has underfloor heating and gets a very reputable C2 BER, with oil central heating and energy efficient replacement glazing.

Externally there are several stores, a lofted detached workshed, a polytunnel, hen house, sit out spaces and stables, enjoyed for many years by Ben, Jean's horse who lived to a ripe old 38 years of age.

Selling agent Henry O’Leary says the setting is beautiful, and quiet, a short 8km commute to or from Bantry and adds it's "the perfect opportunity to acquire a unique, rural retreat, in a truly peaceful location, that offers all the benefits of the West Cork lifestyle."

VERDICT: A house created with love, and no little craftmanship and skill.

More in this section