Who can resist when Bantry Bay beckons?
Westerly Cottage, County Cork
Where the barren rock and gushing streams of Hungry Hill dip into the sheltered waters of Bantry Bay, stands Westerly Cottage. A shiny, white-washed traditional home set in natural rambling gardens and surrounded by history, this stone hideaway has been completely renovated into an informal romantic retreat.
A little gem in the magical landscape of West Cork.
The Cosiest of Country Cottages
Delivered from almost certain extinction, the recently resurrected Westerly Cottage faces Southerly into the sunshine.
Step in through the glazed front door, and you are at once in a living room, full of cosy charm, with a bleached interior of whitewashed stone and rendered walls.
It is a soft uncluttered setting, with chalk white joists, an effective log burning stove, and traditional shabby-chic sofas.
The kitchen dining room is an extension to the original cottage. It has been functionally fitted out in warm oak with wicker-chairs, granite worktops, an induction hob and the full range of coeval appliances.
At the Eastern end of the ground floor, is an ensuite double bedroom – still restrained, with pastel pink and floral tones.
Westerly Cottage sits at end of secluded tree lined avenue, in a large semi-wooded garden that was once home to a small community. Some of the original one roomed dwellings remain in varying degrees of dereliction around the property.
There is a second larger house above the cottage which is undergoing renovation.
Populated with Hydrangeas and Rhododendrons, the garden is rich with colour for most of the year.
A single ancient Ogham stone can be clearly seen up the mountain slopes behind the cottage, and there are views of Adrigole Harbour and Bantry Bay, and of the Mare’s Tail Waterfall.
For real Me-Time, there is the fabulous family bathroom upstairs. Low level windows and a contemporary free standing bath set at a carefree angle, impart a relaxed inclination. A well positioned skylight lends drama to the circular glass shower.
Across the landing upstairs, full length William Morris style curtains dress low four light windows to sustain the country cottage character in the second double bedroom.
The house is equipped with everything you would expect in a contemporary cottage - with barbeque, clothes dryer to microwave, books, etc..
If you have a particular requirement, be sure to tell us.
Smoking - No, sorry!
Parties - The owners regret Stag, Hen, Wedding or 21st parties are not admissible.
Children - Over age of 12 are welcome.
Pets – No, sorry!
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Out and About
Isolated but not remote, the Beara Peninsula defies analysis. The sea, the air the history, there’s so much to explore We just can’t list it all, so here are a few of our favourites..
Here are links to some of our favourite activities-
We were very pleased with the cottage and with everything around.
New to Unique Irish Homes - 2016
Ruthie and Michael gave us a very warm welcome and were there for us whenever we needed their help. The cottage is set up very tastefully, just perfect to enjoy a really good holiday and we will surely recommend this place to our friends and colleges. Thanks to you Graham for your good and reliable service.
Lisa Waltenspül, Switzerland, August 2016
About the Locality
Westerly Cottage lies on the Beara Peninsula just a short walk from Adrigole Harbour, an inlet of Bantry Bay.
To the rear of the house, the Caha Mountain range runs down the spine of Beara, and Hungry Hill is the highest of its peaks.
photo Richard Webb
The panorama at the summit is of course staggering, but the route is a bit all-terrain and needs fine weather. It is down this mountain that the Mare’s Tail Waterfall - some say Irelands highest – tumbles and cascades. You can easily walk to it from the cottage.
Click here to find out more...
The Ring of Beara road twists its way around this rugged headland, exposing colourful hamlets in its path. Narrow, but with minimal traffic, it is a splendid tour, and the views are spectacular. For Cyclists or walkers the Beara Way offers a safer route.
At the tip of the peninsula a spur off the loop road continues to Ballaghboy. From here you can catch Irelands only cable car for the ten minute ride to Dursey Island. The rickety car carries six passengers (or the equivalent in sheep) about 250m above infamous Dursey Sound, where strong tides make travelling by boat hazardous.
With magnificent views stretching from the Skelligs to Mizen Head, only a handful of inhabitants brave this wild and windy island. Dolphins, whales and innocent basking sharks are frequently seen in the surrounding seas.
At the end of the 18th century a republican group seeking to overthrow British rule in Ireland, and spurred on by activities in America and France, managed to persuade the French to send a sizeable fleet of ships and some 14,000 troops to Bantry Bay.
Storms and general mismanagement doomed the Armada – an exhibition in Bantry House details more of this, plus the gardens are fantastic.
Local Bantry Festivals not to miss include
West Cork Chamber Music Festival from Friday 1st - 9th July, and the Literary Festival Sunday 17th - 23rd July.
Castletownbere is a 15 minute drive westward and has a large well stocked supermarket. It is Irelands largest white fish port, and a resulting mixture of nationalities is evident with a sizeable Spanish influence. The Port is sheltered by Bere Island, itself with many ancient archaeological sites. The Island was used as a military base by the British Royal Navy until 1938, due to its strategic position and the depth of the sound.
Sailing is the most ubiquitous pastime along this stretch of Corks coastline, and from Crookhaven to Kinsale there are countless regattas throughout the summer, and great opportunities for the serious sailor to up their skills.
Westerly Lodge was the home for a few years of Bob Tisdall, one of only six people ever to win a gold medal for Ireland at the Olympics. His event was 400m hurdles, Los Angeles in 1932.
West Cork is blessed with an exceptionally warm and wet micro-climate. The Gulf Stream ocean current ensures that summer sea temperatures are about 17 C, approximately the same as Long Beach California. Here you can find palm trees, luxuriant sub-tropical vegetation and exotic flowers growing in abundance. The tiny Garnish Island, just off Glengarrif demonstrates this in a series of gardens flush with rhododendrons, azaleas and other surprising plants.
For a period during the 19th century copper mining was a major industry in the area, and much evidence still exists in the small town of Allihies where there is an interesting museum. Dunboy Castle was built by the Puxley family who owned the copper mines and on whom Daphne du Maurier based her 1943 novel Hungry Hill.
How to get there - Car advised..
By Air: Cheap flights to Kerry Airport (Farrenfore) Cork, Dublin or Shannon.
Kerry Airport - approx 2.5 hour from house.
Cork Airport - approx 2 hours from house.
Shannon Airport - approx 3.5 hours from house.
Dublin Airport - approx 4.5 hours from house.
By Sea: Ferry crossings from Pembroke/Fishguard to Rosslare.
Stena Express - 120 mins (summer only from Fishguard)
Rosslare Port is approx 4.5 hours from house
Dublin City Port/Holyhead has a fast crossing and is approx 4.5 hours from house
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Don’t miss the twisting Tim Healy Pass. This zigzag road that links the North and South of the peninsula is worth it for the spectacular scenery.
Gallery of photographs