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Cork Lives
The exterior of the old shop in Skibbereen that featured on Cheap Irish Homes
The exterior of the old shop in Skibbereen that featured on Cheap Irish Homes

Yours for €110,000, West Cork tailor's shop that featured in Cheap Irish Homes (but would you keep the outside loo?!)

AN old tailor's shop in Skibbereen for sale at €110,000, and a two-bed home near Millstreet going for a bargain €40,000 were among the properties featured in Cheap Irish Homes on RTÉ on Tuesday night.

The other two properties were a three-bed townhouse in Ballyclogh and a house on almost an acre of land in Ballingeary.

In the episode, Dublin couple Aidan and Fiona were seeking to relocate to Cork and wanted an affordable place to live.

Aidan and Fiona in Cheap Irish Homes
Aidan and Fiona in Cheap Irish Homes

Each week, four options are sourced by presenter Maggie Molloy and Cork property expert Kieran McCarthy, and 

Aidan, who has relations in Cork and also studied here years ago, and Fiona began their search in Skibbereen.

Here, they viewed a well preserved three bed tailor's shop in the centre of town, on sale for €110,000. It is trapped in time with many items still inside the shop / house. But the new owners may want to demolish the outside toilet and build an inside one!

The interior of the old shop in Skibbereen that featured on Cheap Irish Homes
The interior of the old shop in Skibbereen that featured on Cheap Irish Homes

House number two was near Ballydaly, near Millstreet in North Cork. This two-bed property has an incredible price tag of €40,000, which would leave the young family some of their budget to turn it into a home. It is set on a 1/3 of an acre.

The third property that Maggie and Kieran showed Aidan and Fiona is in Ballyclogh, 40 minutes from Cork city, but with proximity to Limerick city, and only 10 minutes from the Cork to Dublin train line. A three-bed townhouse in the centre of town, it has a garage / workspace out the back.

The final house for Aidan and Fiona to see was a rural property, in Aharas, 30 minutes from Macroom. A three-bed property on almost one acre for €75,000, it is in reasonably good condition.

At the end, the couple said their preferred home was the Ballydaly property on the market for €40,000.

For Cork housing expert Kieran McCarthy, being involved in this property series is a joy on two fronts.

“I get to help people find their dream homes, and I get to see some beautiful old cottages restored,” he says.

Born in Midleton, Kieran runs KMC Homes and lives with his family in an 1830s cottage he renovated in Blackrock in Cork city.

His skills — he graduated from UCC as a civil engineer in 1996 — are employed in this series, alongside presenter Maggie Molloy, as they source affordable old cottages in out-of-the-way places.

Kieran McCarthy, of Midleton, and Maggie Molloy, in Cheap Irish Homes
Kieran McCarthy, of Midleton, and Maggie Molloy, in Cheap Irish Homes

Kieran admits that it can be difficult to source cheap properties under €100,000 in Cork — even places that require plenty of work.

“You’re doing well to get value in Cork as anywhere within 45 minutes of the city will have a substantial price,” he says.

Kieran, 45, who is marred and has a 13-year-old son and 11-year-old-daughter, is from a long family line of engineers, architects and builders.

I ask him how he thinks Covid-19 will affect the housing market.

“It’s hard to see it driving the market upwards,” he says. “But in truth, no-one knows.

“I was listening to (U.S investor) Warren Buffet the other day and he was saying there is no precedent for this situation.”

However, Kieran points to the fact that supply and demand dictate price.

“Supply has shut off for two months, but the demand is still there,” he says. “On the other hand, developers and banks will be more risk-averse after this. There will be caution and fear at that end.”

He suggests a review of the VAT take from housing may help going forward, but adds that the situation with housing was starting to improve anyway, before Covid-19 struck.

“The problem with the housing industry,” he adds, “is it is always feast or famine; there is short-term money in it and you can have big short-term losses. As a businessman, I have always tried to look at it long-term.”

Cheap Irish Homes is his TV debut, and the fact he has his own Youtube channel helped him land the role.

The building industry is among those hoping to return to work on May 18, when lockdown begins to lift, and Kieran has several clients on the books of KMC Homes, offering a design and build service for clients throughout Cork.

30pm on Tuesdays