20 April 2020
By Elaine Murphy
- A private island, containing multiple houses and a farm yard: for €5.5m
- It’s currently the most expensive property on daft.ie in Cork, and is in the top 10 in terms of asking price
- It even has its own Eircode: P81 AR25
- Where: Horse Island, Roaring Water Bay, Schull, West Cork, (It’s located West of Baltimore, or South of Ballydehob, or East of Schull)
Horse Island is a spectacular, fully developed and entirely privately owned island situated in Roaring Water Bay off the coast of Schull in the outstandingly beautiful West Cork area of Ireland. Its natural landscape and beauty embodies what Ireland’s west coast landscape is so famous for. It provides for a unique private retreat second to none and offers the perceptive buyer utter tranquillity and privacy in the fast paced modern world. Located only a short boat trip from the mainland harbours of Dreenatra Pier and Rossbrien Pier and slightly longer from the fishing ports of Schull and Baltimore access points on the mainland are in easy reach.
Horse Island is one of only a few Irish islands that is fully and sympathetically re-developed as a private residential island with all modern facilities. Totally self-contained with regard to electricity, water and sewage treatment and is probably the best re-developed and revitalised of all the islands off the West Coast of Ireland. The Island extends to c. 157 acres (c. 63.5 hectares) and has an interesting Victorian era copper mining history with the original mining village now in ruins. Following years of abandonment, today Horse Island is once again a residential island offering the luxuries of modern life coupled with exclusive privacy and tranquillity. The island is located only a few minutes’ commute by boat to the many access points on the mainland from the island’s modern harbour with 150 ft pier and slipway.
The island provides amazing views over Roaring Water Bay, out onto the Atlantic with the famous Fastnet Rock lighthouse. The current and previous owners have renovated and developed the Island which now consists of the main house with 6 bedrooms, two 3 bedroom guest houses, two 2 bedroom guest houses and two 1 bedroom cottages. All houses and cottages have amazing views to the bay and sea. Extensive walkways through and round the island provide access to all areas including the many sandy beaches, pastures and the natural landscape.
Horse Island House
The Main House on Horse Island is located on an elevated site overlooking Roaring Water Bay, the surrounding landscape and sea scape with its many islands and the famous Fastnet Rock on the horizon. The two storey stone built residence offers six bedrooms on a total floor area of c. 4,500 sq ft. It features outstanding living accommodation with the main living area separating the guest wing from the owner’s accommodation. The large living room offers double height ceilings with mezzanine over, extra large panoramic windows to soak in the light and outstanding views over Roaring Water Bay all the way to Cape Clear Island and the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse. The owner’s wing incorporates a large kitchen cum dining room, which is perfect for entertaining and also enjoys the most amazing views from every angle of the rooms. The first floor comprises a private master suite with en suite bathroom and dressing room/study as well as access to the roof terrace. The guest wing incorporates five bedrooms, two on the ground floor with bathroom and three on the first floor with bathroom.
To the rear is an enclosed decked courtyard with all the facilities required for “Al Fresco” dining and entertaining. The fully enclosed courtyard offers full protection from the elements. The courtyard contains open or sheltered seating, charcoal fired BBQ and wood fired pizza oven. The outbuildings consist of store areas and a large wine cellar.
The exceptionally bright house has been finished to the highest of standards featuring quality materials and craftmanship throughout.
The Village – Guest Houses and Cottages
In the middle of the island near the pier and boathouse a total of six completely private residential houses and cottages of various sizes form a private village of guest accommodation. Fully fitted with all conveniences.
Pier House (2 bed, c. 1,300 sq ft): Situated close to the main pier the house briefly contains open plan living room, kitchen, dining room, utility room and principle bedroom with en suite on the ground floor with 2nd bedroom, bathroom and sauna on the first floor. There is a stove in the living room and double doors lead into the garden.
Well House (3 bed, c. 1,300 sq ft): The house is situated overlooking Roaring Water Bay and briefly contains open plan sitting room, kitchen and dining room, utility room and principle bedroom on the ground floor with 2 bedrooms and bathroom on the first floor. There is a stove in the living room and double doors lead into the garden.
Pump House (2 bed, c. 1,300 sq ft): The house is situated overlooking Roaring Water Bay and briefly contains open plan sitting room, kitchen and dining room, utility room and principle bedroom on the ground floor with 2 bedrooms and bathroom on the first floor. There is a stove in the living room and double doors lead into the garden.
Beach House (3 bed, c. 1,663 sq ft): Is the largest guest house overlooking Roaring Water Bay and located adjacent to one of the main beaches. The house consists of a large open plan living cum dining room with feature stone fireplace, separate kitchen, utility room and the principle bedroom with en suite toilet is on the ground floor and two bedrooms and bathroom on the first floor.
White Cottage (1 bed, c. 400 sq ft): Single storey cottage close to the Beach House overlooking Roaring Water Bay from gable end. Open plan kitchen cum dining cum sitting room, one bedroom and bathroom. There is a stove in the living room.
Stone Cottage (1 bed, c. 400 sq ft): Single storey cottage close to the Beach House overlooking Roaring Water Bay. Open plan kitchen cum dining cum sitting room, one bedroom and bathroom. There is a stove in the living room.
Leisure & Activities
Horse Island’s c. 157 acres forms the perfect retreat for pursuing outdoor activities depending on the amount of energy you wish to exert. The variety of activities can vary from enjoying fun beach days on the three beautiful sandy beaches to water based activities such as swimming, sailing, kayaking, scuba diving etc. Every corner of the island is accessible through the private road network that has been created to enjoy long strolls, biking or jogging. The island also has a private tennis court and a gym & games house. To explore the Island itself is an adventure, offering the peacefulness to take time away from a busy life but also being able to offer you the ability to vigorously enjoy land and water activities depending on what your chosen pursuit is.
Horse Island is home to an extraordinary array of bird and wildlife. You will encounter seals on the beach and passing dolphins out in the bay. There is also an extraordinary variety of flora and fauna rarely to be seen on the mainland.
Facilities & Infrastructure
Horse Island has been fully re-developed with self-sufficiency in mind. It has its own electricity grid powered by one of three diesel generators at any given time which provide electricity to the whole island including all the houses (1x33kW when occupancy is low, 2x88kW when occupancy is high and providing a back up generator for maintenance intervals). There are also a number of wind turbines charging batteries which serve as an emergency back up for electric light.
Water on the island is supplied by an aquifier 400 ft below the ocean floor. The water is of excellent quality and is filtered and softened in the pump house on its way to the water tank at the top of the island before returning down to the houses with excellent water pressure.
A 150 ft Pier with slip way and offshore licence is installed, making the island very accessible by boat and ferries to also allow larger machinery to be landed at the island. The harbour provides for the mooring of several boats. There is a separate boathouse with a large storage area located beside the pier.
The helicopter pad on the island provides access by air in addition to the access by boat.
The island’s farm yard consists of a main cattle shed, an implement shed as well workshop and generator shed. All sheds are situated around a concrete yard.
The cattle shed is a modern 7 bay “A” frame shed divided into a part slatted unit and hard standing. The divisions within the shed are such to give flexibility to livestock movements and separation.
The implement shed is a 3 bay “A” frame shed with internal workshop and stores. The shed has concrete flooring and part concrete and stone side walls with extruded aluminium cladding above.
Should any prospective purchaser not wish to continue with farming activities on the island these sheds could provide an alternative purpose for use, e.g. for further leisure activities such as an indoor swimming pool, larger gym, indoor tennis court etc. (subject to planning permission).
Horse Island – Now and Then
Horse Island once had a thriving copper industry which operated from 1820 to 1874. The remnants of this era can still be seen on the island. Old maps show that there were several mine shafts on the island and the Topographical Dictionary Of Ireland in 1837 reported that the mines yielded very pure ore and were extensively worked by the West Cork Mining Company. The ore was sold in Swansea “at a high price”. In 1841 the population peaked at 137 people, most of whom were employed in the mines, however, by 1965 all the inhabitants had left the island. Some of the ruins of the old village and managers’ houses can still be seen on the island. Some have been incorporated into the infrastructure on the island and remain as witness of times long gone.
The island subsequently became privately owned and the current infrastructure was developed over the years. It remains private to this day and is one of only a few re-developed and re-vitalised private islands off the west coast.
The island is situated close to the North Shore of Roaring Water Bay. There are a number of local harbours which are generally accessible during most tidal and weather conditions. Distances from the mainland are measured from the pier on Horse Island:
Dreenatra Pier is the closest being approximately 1.7 km – c. 5 mins by boat
Rossbrin Boatyard is approximately 1.9 km – c. 5 mins by boat
Schull Harbour is approximately 6.0 km – c. 15 mins by boat
For more see the estate agents listing at https://www.daft.ie/cork/houses-for-sale/schull/horse-island-roaring-water-bay-schull-cork-1766502/