The house is built within the grounds of the 19th century home of Canon Goodman, the ruins of which provide a magical backdrop to views over Ardgroom harbour towards the Kerry and Caha mountains.
Glorious mature stands of beech, oak and plane trees line the drive and stand proudly in the surrounding meadows. We will tell you later of the great and good Canon, but first to the home, Pipers.
To set the scene, here are just some of the views from the house, sunporch and garden: private, intimate, glorious, unchanged and special.
The south-facing terrace overlooking the harbour is well sheltered and is an absolute sun trap. A glorious spot to spend the day with the cows grazing on the green hills beyond and wonderful and often rarely seen seabirds and wildlife hunting in the waters below (Gannets, Terns, Guillemots, Sandpipers, Great Northern Divers, Herons, Sea Otters and Hares to name but a few).
Pipers is a kilometre and a half from the village of Ardgroom with its excellent shop, cafe and pub (Village Inn).
The home provides modern and comfortable accommodation for up to four in two bedrooms, one a double and the other with twin beds.
The terrace entrance leads into the open plan living area through a convenient and spacious porch. The living area comfortably accommodates six around a Scandinavian wood burning stove that combines with central heating to ensure maximum snugness on those very occasional dampish days!
Leading from the dining area is a fully equipped modern kitchen. Bright, a delight to use and spacious with views out into the surrounding gardens. The back door into the house leads from the kitchen providing easy and direct access for car loading and unloading. A well-equipped laundry is also provided next to the kitchen.
The stairs to the bedrooms lead from the living area to a landing above with the master bedroom to the right and the second bedroom to the left. The master bedroom is spacious and cosey. Three windows offer lovely views across the harbour to the hills and mountains beyond.
The sky light above the bed ensures that the room is always well and softly lit. And on the odd blowy night allows you to really hear the wind. Just magic.
Pipers was built in 1900 but has been sensitively modernised while remaining true to its proud Beara roots. The house is full of lovely touches which reach back and connect you to the years gone by.
Beara has many fine resident artists and potters. Their work is exhibited in Kenmare, Castletown and Bantry or better still, follow the booklet “Beara Art Trail” and you can visit them in their own studios. Well worth doing, as they are close by.
So now to Canon Goodman; who was truly well named.
Pipers is situated in the grounds of a former rectory that once was his home.
Born in Dingle in 1828 he spent a life-time devoted to the well-being of Ireland and all its people. A fluent Irish speaker from childhood his life was one of service, education and music. Indeed he became renowned for his playing of the Uileann pipes.
His unique collection of over 2000 traditional Irish melodies for the pipe in volumes known as ‘The tunes of the Munster Pipers’ are now housed in the library of Trinity College, Dublin. It was while in Ardgroom that the Canon commenced this collection. And so it is that Pipers Cottage came to be named in memory of a very remarkable and good man. His funeral in January 1896 was of “enormous proportions” and bore testimony to his life of devotion to Ireland, its people and music. “His generosity to the poor left him without wealth at the end. Yet he died rich, for money could not buy the esteem and respect of his countrymen which were without limit or reserve.”
Reflect on this exemplary life, listen to the message in the Piper’s call as you sit by his once fine home and take in, as he surely often did himself, the unspoilt beauty and peace of Ardgroom harbour with Collorus and the Caha mountains beyond. It has changed little in 200 years and remains an inspiration.
The fine old stone buildings around the Canon’s former home to-day form a beautiful sheltered quadrangle ideal for outside dining. A barbeque is of course provided.
Pipers Cottage is a very special place. And it continues to reach out and touches all those who have had the good fortune to track it down and stay in this lovely place on this beautiful peninsula.
Out and About
Isolated but not remote, the Beara Peninsula defies analysis. The sea, the air, the history, there’s so much to explore.
The nearest town for basic requirements is Ardgroom just 3km away. Close to the village there is a picturesque stone circle, one of a plethora of megalithic monuments to be found in the region.
For more serious shopping, gourmet restaurants, and an informal farmers market on Wednesdays, Kenmare is a delightful 30 minute drive back up the Bay.
The rugged Beara peninsular is shared by counties Cork and Kerry – Cove Lodge is balanced on the border. The Ring of Beara road twists its way around this 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.
The Caha Mountain range runs down the spine of Beara, and Hungry Hill is the highest of its peaks. The panorama at the top is of course staggering, but the route is a bit all-terrain and needs fine weather.
To cross back to Cove Lodge, don’t miss the Tim Healy Pass. This zigzag road is worth it for the wonderful scenery, and is one of the classic Irish Car Rally stages.
For a period during the 19th century copper mining was the major industry in the area, and much evidence still exists in the small town of Allihies where there is an interesting museum.
Castletownbere on the southern side of the peninsula is Irelands largest white fish port. The harbour is deep and is reputed to be one of the safest in the world. Sheltered by Bear Island, it has a long military history.
The tiny Garnish Island, just off the town of Glengarrif demonstrates this in a series of gardens flush with rhododendrons, azaleas and other surprising plants.
There are ample sites for fishing into deep water straight off the rocky Beara shoreline. Glenbeg Lake, is also teeming with trout and the short Glenmore river spate is extremely prolific, with runs of Spring Salmon coming in March, and Sea-Trout in mid June to late July.
By Air: Cheap flights to Kerry Airport (Farrenfore) Cork, Dublin or Shannon.
Kerry Airport – approx 1.5 hour from house.
Cork Airport – approx 2 hours from house.
Shannon Airport – approx 3 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)
Swansea/Cork Ferry is 2 hours from the house.
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