PROPERTY owners along the Seven Heads peninsula may be in for a boost with the news that their region is about to be added to the Wild Atlantic Way (WAW) route.
After many years of campaigning, a local lobby group announced last week – in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland – that what was being dubbed the ‘forgotten peninsula’ would be on the route from the start of the 2018 season.
It’s a testament to the success of the world’s longest coastal drive, which was launched just three years ago, in 2014, that towns and villages are now begging for inclusion.
The success of the route has taken even Fáilte Ireland by surprise, with individuals, tourists, car clubs, bike groups, charity events, TV travel shows and vloggers all wanting a slice of the action.
And now estate agents are saying it may help boost property values in towns like Timoleague and Courtmacsherry.
‘It is exciting to see another route to market for property in this spectacular area of West Cork,’ said Clonakilty estate agent Henry O’Leary this week, on hearing that the Seven Heads would be included on the WAW.
‘For years we have been using another highway – the information superhighway – to take images, video and details of properties from this spectacular area to people worldwide,’ he said.
‘This was, for the most part, a one-way street. But now we have a two-way street, with people using the WAW to discover the area and hopefully some of them may want to stay.’
Henry said the attraction of being on the WAW may be working on some properties already, as one home in the Courtmacsherry area recently had interested parties come to see it from South Africa, Germany, France and Australia.
‘And, contrary to what some people might think, the interest from the UK was also very strong,’ said Henry, referring to Brexit and the fear that UK buyers may decline, due to currency fluctuations.
‘It has definitely had a positive effect,’ agreed Skibbereen auctioneer Charlie McCarthy.
‘The Wild Atlantic Way identifies an area to tourists as being somewhere that the Irish consider to be a better part and is worth visiting – so the same can be said for property.’
While Mr McCarthy said it was still too early to say if the route has had a significant impact on property prices, it was certainly a ‘unique selling point’ for homes on the market.
‘It is hard to quantify the effect, but it certainly makes homes more saleable and more attractive to buyers. And the WAW has certainly been very well promoted in the US and UK.’
Mr McCarthy agreed with his Clonakilty counterpart that interest from the UK in West Cork is still strong. ‘Just this week we had two possible deals from UK buyers, for homes worth over €500,000 each.’