Lifestyle

House sale: Irish tower from 1800’s up for grabs after incredible hidden transformation

A stunning Martello Tower has gone on the market in Co Cork and is a unique opportunity to own a piece of history left over from the Napoleonic-era.

The present owners have put the tower in Belvelly, near Cobh, up for sale with an asking price of €750,000, which includes the one acre of land it sits on.

The tower was built by the British in 1813 as one of five Martello towers built in Cork Harbour to protect the coastline from the threat of a French invasion, and was later used to store explosives during the Irish Civil War.

However it was left in ruins until its owners bought it in the late 1990s and they have since restored the crumbling tower into a chic, modern three-bedroom family home.



The first floor has an open-plan living area, with a fitted kitchen, an open fireplace and a spectacular red brick domed ceiling.
The first floor has an open-plan living area, with a fitted kitchen, an open fireplace and a spectacular red brick domed ceiling.

The spacious, three-storey circular tower boasts nine-foot thick walls, and extends over 1,500 square feet spread across two floors, along with access to a rooftop terrace.

The ground floor features three bedrooms, one master bedroom en-suite as well as a double and a single bedroom, and a main bathroom. During the renovation process 15 years ago, the owners have kept the original limestone flagstones in the hallway.



The owners kept the original limestone flagstones in the hallway
The owners kept the original limestone flagstones in the hallway

On the first floor is an impressive open-plan living space, with a fitted kitchen, an open fireplace and a spectacular red brick domed ceiling.

A secret curved stairway leads to a 750-square-foot roof terrace with waterside views of Cobh, Belvelly Castle, and the nearby Fota Island resort.



A secret curved stairway leads to a 750-square-foot roof terrace
A secret curved stairway leads to a 750-square-foot roof terrace

A unique feature on the roof left over from a bygone era is a raised platform with a pivot that would have held a cannon when the tower was used for defensive purposes.

The property is a 20-minute drive to Cork city and only a five-minute drive to Cobh town, with nearby transport links including Fota train station as well as being 20-minutes away from Cork airport.



A unique feature on the roof left over from a bygone era is a raised platform with a pivot that would have held a cannon
A unique feature on the roof left over from a bygone era is a raised platform with a pivot that would have held a cannon

Property agent Johanna Murphy, who is overseeing the sale of the tower said: “I was always curious as to what The Martello Tower in Belvelly would look like inside. I sold the property 21 years ago when it was literally a ruin, so to walk inside was such a treat.

“I was really taken aback by how spacious, modern, even contemporary it was whilst still retaining the look of the tower. Yes, you would think it would be dark and of course, it isn’t like your normal conventional dwelling, but it is certainly not dark. The sheer quirkiness of the property is simply divine.”



The tower boasts beautiful views of Cobh, Belvelly Castle, and the nearby Fota Island resort.
The tower boasts beautiful views of Cobh, Belvelly Castle, and the nearby Fota Island resort.

While there is still some work to be done on the property, Ms Murphy suggested that it has potential to be rented out as an exclusive holiday letting in the future, or would be ideal for entertaining large groups.

“There are so many ideas floating around my head as to what the Tower could be used for other than a home,” she said.

“You could run an upper-class Airbnb, guesthouse, restaurant – imagine renting it out – hiring a private chef, music, fire pit on the roof terrace – it really has so many uses and is a blank canvas.”

“The Tower was renovated 15 years ago and there are still some jobs to be done but not major in the grand scheme of things as the hard and main work has been done. To own a property like this is a privilege and an opportunity that doesn’t come up that often.”




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