SOME houses, like old rockers, never die – they go on, and on.
So it is with West Cork’s Mulberry Cottage: dating to the 1800s, it’s in as good a health as it ever was over a century and a half, and, locally, for many, it’s still known as “Syd Guppy’s house.”
Among the former owners of this detached farmhouse a few miles north of Clonakilty town was a UK graphic artist/printer and musician, Syd Guppy, who during his tenure here integrated into Clon’s diverse and multi-cultural music community as a drummer. He was part of Clon’s gig scene, along with the likes of the late Noel Redding from the Jimi Hendrix Experience bank and Steven Housden of Oz-based Little River Band, who still lives and records locally.
He's long gone back to the UK, and Mulberry Cottage has had a few owners since his years here but “lots and lots of people still know this as Syd Guppy’s house,” says one of the current owners, who observes it's well known to taxi drivers too from those years.
A very charming looking long and very traditional farmhouse, typical of the ‘one room’ wide’ vernacular of the 19th century, Mulberry Cottage has had quite a few owners over the past 50 years..
They includeone older woman who called by with her daughter at the start of Covid-19 lockdowns nearly two years ago, looking on from outside at where she had lived, at how it had changed (or not)in the decades, but unable to go in and relive her past years here due to Coronavirus fears.
Mulberry Cottage has had work done to it by several recent owners, including by a Dublin woman who wasn’t a full-time resident, and the family here now arrived on a house hunt bak in 2015 and had it bought by 2016.
He’s from Cork, she’s from Dublin, and they were just a few years ahead of the lifestyle shift to rural and coastal properties that became such a surge post-pandemic, when they themselves managed to buy here.
They’ve now been joined by their three children and as their family grows, they hope to trade up and to buy again somewhere in the locality.
Mulberry Cottage comes to market this month with local estate agent Martin Kelleher, who guides the c 1,350 sq ft two-storey family home at €375,000, noting its excellent condition, quiet rural setting yet only four or five miles out from Clonakilty, and its long views.
As this price point, he expects wide interest, from first-time buyers to relocators (viewings only start from next week).
Might it go closer to €400K? He’s just being that bit more cautious as the setting is just a bit off the more beaten track of the area – put it on the other side of the N71 and that price might ratchet up way past €400,000 of its own accord.
It's near small communities, schools and services close to Bealad and Knockskagh, on a back road north of Ahamilla where the GAA club relocated to 15 years ago. Auctioneer Martin Kelliher describes the setting as “serene and tranquil countryside,” and the owners opened up long views over their garden, northwest towards the mountains beyond Dunmanway and Gougane Barra.
They did a fair share of garden clearing, and replanting with oaks, added a new veneer of décor to the interiors, put in a new central heating boiler and opened up a disused chimney and installed a wood-burning stove.
The cleared back one old, open structure as a sheltered sit-out picnic/coffee/reading room, open to the skies, and had considered upgrading and converting one or two of the other more adjacent outbuildings for use as a home office, or for guests.
New owners might go down this route, or do up a section for Airbnb, or just use them as they are for hobbies, storage and more: there were printing machines here in Syd Guppy’s time, there’s both power and water to hand and, in fact, some of the best views are from the upper level of one of the outbuildings, with the whole cluster on a total of c one third of an acre of mature gardens.
Inside, there’s good light thanks to a double aspect, and windows put in by an earlier owner have simple outlines and are from quality maker Rationel, while the porch has a feature half-door, opening out over a flagstone paved patio or plinth, with steps linking it to the drive on this sloping site.
The departing family put in a new kitchen and island with Belfast sink and solid oak tops, made by craftsman Eoin Lee Furniture in Timoleague, who has an innovative new range of coffee tables out, depicting the outlines of West Cork bays, inlets and harbours, cut into solid timber tops.
There’s a cute window seat set into the splayed ope by one window, and some of the internal walls have a sand and cement finish, painted white; some of the bedrooms have had walls redone with insulated plasterboard, and the BER’s a not-too scanty D2, helped no doubt by things like the 12kw solid fuel stove, efficient new boiler and low energy LED lighting throughout.
A brick arch around a range cooker has been painstakingly stripped back by hand, exposing the lovely patina of old red bricks, the kitchen has all-new appliances and the house’s sole bathroom is at first-floor level, with a large shower centrally placed at the tallest roof section, while windows upstairs are a mix of small opes and overhead Veluxes, mixing and mingling with exposed, dark-painted original roof beams.
VERDICT: Stone-builtMulberry Cottage is a gentle sort of rocker.