A man leaning against the door post of a polytunnel full of cultivating plants

Where the heart is: An Irish cottage

In the rugged landscape of County Kerry, a cosy cottage hides a treasure trove of stories

by Ros Woodham
Words and photos Ros Woodham

It’s springtime in the south-west of Ireland and the elements are giving it their best shot as I drive deep into County Kerry. The dark, knotted rain clouds over the Atlantic add a sense of mystery to the rugged coastline, and isolated rays catch earthy colours in patches across the mountainsides. I’m searching for a remote cottage in the heart of the Iveragh Peninsula. 

The satnav tells me I’ve arrived. Thick vegetation along the driveway parts to unveil a traditional Irish cottage, kissed by a moment of evening sunlight and exuding just the charm I had hoped for. Constructed using locally sourced materials, like all cottages, it blends seamlessly into the Irish landscape, ingeniously designed to withstand the often harsh and unpredictable weather. 

A couple in the doorway of a traditional Irish cottage
Irish cottage in a rural setting with the sea in the background

A large German shepherd escapes from behind the half-door to check me out, then, thankfully, decides I am less interesting than the scents to be found around the garden. 

Daniel O’Meara and Annamaria Diana welcome me warmly, reassure me that Anu (the dog) is ‘grand’ and equip me with a proper jacket, deeming my own attire unfit for the unseasonal chill in the air. They lead me deeper into the plot, making the most of this dry spell as the forecast for the next day is not good. It’s a great opportunity to put my camera to work; the vantage point from behind the cottage takes in the peninsula’s southern expanse towards Ballinskelligs. The scene encapsulates the cottage and its allure as an icon of old romantic Ireland.

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