Oikoseen in Midleton has to be seen

Tommy Barker visits a County Cork property with a lot of history and even more future potential

Bailick, Midleton - €400,000

Size: 298 sq m (3,200 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 6

Bathrooms: 2

BER: Exempt

THEY’RE selling the sizzle with the sausage, in a manner of speaking, in the case of the sale of a rare Midleton east Cork home, called Oikoseen.

While its name might sound like something porcine related, the more refined out there will know that it comes from the Greek, meaning ‘’House that was.”

Built originally back in the late 1700s, and long associated with milling when it it was known as Charleston House, it was likely to have been built by enterprising Scots Messrs John Anderson and John Lapp, who built large granary/maltings at the confluence of the Owenacurra Estuary and the Ballinacurra River in Midleton. Their family surnames are recalled still in Cork city, at Lapps Quay and Andersons Quay.

Local historians reckon the house bearing the title Oikoseen had been the residence of the manager of the Charleston Maltings, an adjacent structure now converted into apartments ‘round the scenic Bailick/Ballincurra stretch south of Midleton town, and the powerful milling Bennett family moved here into the ‘old’ Charleston/Oikoseen. while their new house was being constructed on the hill behind it.

They took the name Charleston House with them to their new home, and that ‘new’ 1911-built Charleston House has just recently gone ‘sale agreed’ with Savills, on ten lovely acres and with significant residentail development potential on the lands, for over the €3.7m guide.

Charleston House featured as a Cover Storey here in early 2017, had been offered in lots, but has been bought as an entire by as yet undisclosed developers who may sell on the 1911 built home at a later date.

Meanhile, the house which carried the name for decades is now for sale, and seen here in its latest guise, having had a hard-working life-span to date.

It’s understood that miller and grain grower JH Bennett divided this former Charleston into two houses, one to accommodate a sister, and the slightly tongue-in- cheek names Oikoseen (‘the house that was’,) and Oikoseema (‘the house that will be’,) were applied to them.

They served time as a social club for JH Bennett & Co employees, and later a portion was offices for the Cork County Fire Services. (Coincidentally, period, red-brick Cork city offices for the same County Fire Services on the elegant Georgian residential run at North Mall were sold several years ago to a private buyer, who has made it a 21st century gentrified home after a significant extra investment, so might something similar follow suit at Bailick?)

Now, coming afresh to market for a private vendor, the 3,200 sq ft Oiksoseen is guided at €400,000 by Midleton estate agent James Colbert, who says it could be made over as four water aspected luxury apartments, or would make one spectacular private home “in what is quickly becoming the No 1 area to live in Midleton,” with water views (it never flooded during Midleton’s dramatic ‘50-year flood’ three years ago, Mr Colbert reassures), and within a walk of woods, schools and Midleton town centre and markets.

Curent layout at Oikoseen is very office-y in feel, but the vendor has done a ‘mood board’ showing how she feels it can be adapted and utilising its period home roots and proportions. There’s planning for a glass-box extension in place, and other alterations already. Agent James Colbert sold the adjacent, high-end Victorian-inspired home called Charleston Lodge in 2016, for a recorded €550,000 on the Price Register, and guides the 3,200 sq ft project with original heritage and features at €400,000.

“There is no denying that this is a project for an able purchaser but the results will far outweigh the effort as this has all the potential to be one of the finest homes in Midleton,” he asserts.

VERDICT: House that was to become house to be?

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