High-end living above Cork harbour

No 11, Diamond Hill, in salubrious Monkstown, was state-of-the art when built in the 1970s says Tommy Barker            

Monkstown, Cork Harbour -  €430,000

Size: 166 sq m (1,793 sq ft)
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 2

MOVING into a new family home is rarely easy , but the buyers of No 11, Diamond Hill, did it the hard way 39 years ago. They were the first to move into the new houses at this upper cluster of the then-cutting edge development of Cork harbour-fronting homes. Services were barely connected, there was no electricity, and it was within a week of the arrival of their second baby.

The family home-to-be was a diamond, but in the rough.

The power came on, they pressed ahead, and their children grew up in this niche estate of shiny-new, split-level homes, a-top Monkstown, with large vantage-point windows and balconies.

They were able to walk to the local national school, Scoil Barra Naofa, just a couple of hundred yards away, and they availed of all of the amenities and outdoor activities of Monkstown.

Their children have long since left, but the area’s sports facilities have expanded, with a marina as the cherry on top for sailors and boat owners.

There’s also a tennis club, golf course, and horse riding. Due to Monkstown’s hilly topgraphy, though, sports pitches are off in Passage West, across the water in Cobh, or at Carrigaline.

Grandchildren have arrived and, yep, it’s downsizing time at Monkstown’s No 11, Diamond Hill, as its owners prepare to move to a West Cork town, following family, and determined to stay on the coast.

A raised, brick flower bed, by the front door, with the emblemeitc West Cork fuchsia planted up-front, is a statement of relocation intent.

For the past four decades, it’s been about the views over Cork harbour from No 11; the panorama, the ease of living, the flood of light, an ever-changng panoply of passing shipping, plus great neighbours, whom they view as highly as any fixture, fitting, or convenience.

On the morning the Irish Examiner strolled up the drive and approach steps to knock on the front door, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, the waters of Cork harbour shimmered and glistened, and the port was quietly going about its business.

Dinghies bobbed on the water by the Sand Quay and slipway, the rotors of the three enormous wind turbines about Ringaskiddy lay becalmed, and an enomous blue ship, packed past the gunnels with high-stacked containers, hoved into the frame, turning to starboard around Verolme, for the run up the river channel to Tivoli.

It’s a weekly Cork run for the ship, but even though it’s as regular as clockwork, every hour or of every day has something different to track, from tugs, car transporters, bulk tank ships, and ferries to sail boats and cruise ships: “if you woke up at 4.00am, there’d be something to observe,” say the owners. Handily, some of the widest views from this hillside look-out are from the main bedroom.

The 1960s houses were designed by Pettits, and were expertly slotted into their sloping sites: seeing as No 11 is at the top, and faces over a green below, it has some of the best of the available vistas, and the inside layout maximises that.

For example, there’s a glass wall partition between the entry-level, 20’ by 14’ oak-floored living room back into the kitchen and a sort or half-level above, so you can see through from back to front.

There’s a low pitch to the houses’ roofs, so the living room gains extra airiness due to the slope, with some feature timber beams on high. There’s an open fireplace set into a tall, brick chimney breast, which also houses display alcoves and a log store. The front ‘wall’ here is almost entirely glazed, with a large, central pane, and access to the balcony via a glazed side door.

Back in the oak-floored hall, four open-tread stairs lead to the next/main level, with views through a teak-framed wall with 16 glass panes to what’s been used as a formal dining room, with further views beyond to a large and well-kept rear patio and back garden.

There’s the dinkiest little serving hatch from this room to the kitchen/family dining room, and it’s just about big enough to get a pint glass or two through, while the kitchen has pine units and tomato-red tiled worktops and splashback.

Back further again is a sunroom/large utility, with patio access and a very decent-sized, tidily minded back garden, with mature trees at the back boundary guaranteeing full privacy.

Off to the left of the central hall are four bedrooms, two to the front, with the master bed en suite, and two to the back, plus main, recently redone and retiled family bathroom.

Also recently upgraded are the oil boiler/central heating and insulation spec (walls have been pumped with foam, and many of the windows are triple-glazed). If a wood-burning stove were added to the living room’s current open fireplace, the D1 BER on this harbour home would be easily pegged into the ‘High Cs’

Selling agent for the 1,790 sq ft No 11 is Carrigaline-based Michael Pigott, who prices the detached home, with lower level garage, at €430,000. The price register shows other sales here ranging from €320,000 to €460,000.

Last year, Mr Pigott sold Lisard, or No 3 Diamond Hill, for €502,500, having shown it in these pages at €495,000, but No 3 had been considerably extended by its previous owners.

VERDICT: Modern in Monkstown, and a few more tiny tweaks will personalise it all over again.

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