IN the space of five years, Justin Cochrane Townshend and Sharon Poulter have brought a new level of grace and charm to The Castle in Castletownshend.
‘This year, would have been something of a grand unveiling,’ said Sharon, who together with her partner, Justin, own and run an historic building that was built circa 1650.
It was on Star Wars Day – May 4th 2015 – that the couple moved to West Cork, and indeed ‘the force was with them’ because they not only improved the appearance and amenities at The Castle, they also provided the pretty seaside village with a major tourism attraction.
In year one, the couple, who relocated from their two high powered jobs in the UK, invested a lot of time and money in refurbishing the castle’s bedrooms and bathrooms and they also created an impossibly pretty café.
In year two, the couple updated the kitchen and carried out a huge amount of maintenance work, including the repointing of the stone façade of The Castle.
‘That kind of work isn’t glamorous but it’s vital when it comes to maintaining an old building,’ said Sharon. ‘And it is by paying attention to every possible detail that you end up with a quality tourism destination.’
Year three saw the couple update their own personal space within the castle walls. It provided them with a home gym, a games room, and balcony terrace overlooking the magnificent Castletownshend Harbour. The final push was the redesign and landscaping of the car park, The Castle’s kitchen garden, and the main entrance.
‘We finished all of that at the end of February and we were looking forward to reopening our Bed and Breakfast business at the start of March. We did open for the first two weekends before we had to close due to the Covid-19 restrictions,’ Sharon said.
‘As disappointing as that was, we have used the time wisely to plant the new entrance, new beds, and to lay new turf, so by the time our guests return – hopefully at the end of July – it should look as it was that way all along.’
Justin – who stills works in London as the CEO of Clear Channel Europe – is the son of Malcolm and Anne Cochrane Townshend, and is proud to continue the family tradition established by his grandmother, Rosemary Salter Townshend.