This article originally appeared in our 24-page PROPERTY magazine which is free in this week's Southern Star. Get your copy in shops across West Cork or online via the Southern Star digital edition ➡️ http://bit.ly/2Z9T9Z1
Have you ever dreamt of relocating to West Cork? Well, now might just be the perfect time, writes Niamh Hayes
The last year and a half has woken us up to the fact that life is short, and everything can change in the blink of an eye. So rather than waiting for the right time, which doesn’t really exist by the way, it’s time to bite the bullet and go for the things you’ve always wanted.
And if one of those things is a move to West Cork, start packing as there is no better time to do it.
While demand for property in the area has gone up since the pandemic, prices are still comparatively keen though, and this demand also means that some really prime properties in top locations are coming on the market all the time. Simply check in with any or all of the local estate agents who will be happy to help you find the home of your dreams.
One thing that should be noted – there’s something of a stereotype about all the best West Cork properties being by the sea. Yes there’s definitely an element of truth to this, but it’s also an undeniable fact that there are some truly wonderful homes in extremely favourable and well-serviced locations inland too.
While you might find yourself trading a sea view for rolling green fields or the shelter of picturesque hills, or maybe you just need easier access to an urban centre, the reality is you’re never really that far from any of the above in wonderful West Cork.
The scenery, the people, the amenities, everything about the place oozes beauty. While visiting every now and again is one thing, imagine getting to experience that lifestyle every single day of the year. There’s a good chance you’ll wake up each day, open the curtains and think you’re dreaming.
West Cork is famous for its rural areas. Miles and miles of clean countryside and idyllic stop-offs – both coastal and inland – mean you could drive for hours and still be in awe at the beauty and splendid isolation. Historic sites of interest, woodlands, hiking trails and endless cycling opportunities are among the myriad leisure options, and many of which are available year-round at no cost.
Imagine not having to put the bike on the back of the car to get to your favourite route – instead you just saddle up outside your own back door and you’re off … magic!
If you want to escape the noise of a big city, West Cork certainly has plenty of space and calm to sate your desires. If on the other hand you want the quieter lifestyle but don’t want to be completely isolated, the towns and villages in West Cork are full of life, characters and amenities, and are perfect for young and old.
Then you have the islands, which are a completely different experience again, but one that appeals to so many. A quick boat trip will get you to some of the most beautiful, secluded spots in Ireland, which have become home and inspiration to many wanderers. Most are really accessible but offer an extra level of privacy and relaxation.
Some big sales in recent years have proved the high esteem and desirability of West Cork’s island homes.
If you do need to keep the big city within range, or perhaps more specifically, transport hubs such as the train station or airport, it’s amazing to think that just a short drive up the road from your dream hideaway and you’re in the thick of it again.
And don’t forget, broadband connectivity is improving all the time and as has been demonstrated over the past year and a half or more, remote working from the furthest reaches of West Cork is a very real and tangible option now. One minute you’re talking to clients in Germany, next minute you’re walking up the village for an artisan brunch or taking a refreshing dip in the ocean. Talk about the best of both worlds!
And even if working from the house isn’t for you, there are now numerous digital hubs offering very affordable remote working spaces and hot desks, including The Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen, Brookpark Business Centre in Dunmanway and Bantry Bayworks, all with facilities typical of any office, and of course, highspeed internet.
But you don’t have to be working from home to relocate to West Cork. The towns and villages are full of businesses providing employment in lots of different sectors, from artisan food production to worldwide telecommunications services, healthcare to high-tech pharmaceuticals and pretty much everything in between.
A number of big companies have opened up in industrial parks around West Cork, and then there are so many opportunities with local and international companies based in Cork City or the surrounding areas, all of which are within easy commutable distances of West Cork.
For families thinking of relocating, West Cork is a great place for kids to grow up. Pre, primary and secondary schools are dotted in towns and villages across West Cork and there are even third-level and return-to-education options with the likes of West Cork Campus in Skibbereen. And don’t forget that nearby Cork city is host to the world-famous University College Cork, Munster Technical University (formerly CIT) and a host of other third-level education options.
There is every type of after-school activity you can think of, from sports clubs, dancing and drama, to music, arts, crafts, water sports, computer coding, cinemas, horse riding – you name it, West Cork has it. Who knows, your child might be an Olympic medal-winning rower or athlete in years to come – we already have the medals to prove it’s possible!
But at the most basic level West Cork has some fantastic big open spaces where the kids can just run around or kick ball with their friends. And it’s not just the kids that will enjoy life in West Cork, there is so much for adults to do too, such as joining a community group, sports team, or experiencing the many festivals, events and gigs held throughout the year.
There is a reason many artists, writers, musicians and other creative people choose to live in West Cork. It is full of inspiration, calmness and peace, perfect for anyone who is looking for that extra something.
If you are looking for a simple life, away from the hustle and bustle of highly populated areas, with plenty of fresh air, space, inspiration and opportunity, West Cork might just be the perfect place to relocate to. What are you waiting for?