House of the week: Ard Chuain, Passage West, Cork Harbour

There are almost 20 large, detached one-off homes done to a variety of architectural styles and big, blowsy budgets, at the Ard Chuain development, which takes its name from the height it’s set at above Passage West, spanning expanses of Cork harbour.

Ard Chuain, Passage West, Cork Harbour - €595,000

Size: 292 sq m (3,140 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 5

Bathrooms: 4

BER: B3

But, for all the breadth and interesting design touches among the varied homes, it’s hard to find a price comparison on the Price Register. Nothing comes up for Ard Chuain Passage West, going back to 2010, but as a possible ‘typo’, a 6 Ard ‘Cluain’, is shown as an October 2010 recorded sale, at €465,000.

So, on the face of it, not many chances to buy into this commandingly-set location have cropped up for years: in fact as No 9 Ard Chuain comes for sale in the tail end of 2017, it’s this home’s second market outing.

It featured here five years ago, then guided at €675,000, but wasn’t sold, and has been an up-market rental more recently, it appears. Now, No 9’s back on the open market, with a change of agents and a lower asking price tag then even at the market’s low-point ’round 2012.

Today, estate agents Ann O’Mahony and Florence Gabriel of Sherry FitzGerald price it under the €600k mark, at €595,000, and it’s as fine a big, trading-up option now as it was then, thanks to c 3,150 sq ft of living and sleeping space

That equates to about €190 per square foot of well-finished dormer home, with much of the distinctive work done by the family, who relocated to Cork from Florida in the US. They bought No 9 in a shell condition in 2008, and then finished it out to their own specifications.

They were taken with the views, which command a sweep of harbour and river marine traffic, and it’s as likely to be the clincher once more in No 9’s anticipated re-sale now, along with the amount of internal space.

Much of the finish materials were shipped across the Atlantic in two containers for the fit-out, and it included seemingly acres of Brazilian cherrywood, used extensively for flooring, and generally running from room to room, unbroken by any door saddles.

Florence Gabriel describes the look as contemporary thanks to architectural input, “it’s a thoroughly modern home, in the best sense of the word,” she says, and picks out features like the open heart at its core, with double height space with gallery/mezzanine above, with Veluxes on high, and virtually a wall of glass with French doors to a sandstone-paved sun terrace facing east, down toward Marino Point.

An inset 12kw solid fuel stove is a good match for this voluminous space, and there’s zoned central heating as well. Rooms range off a hall to the 18’ by 15’ lofty living room, plus an open span to a 25’ by 16’ kitchen and dining room, with granite tops on painted units and island. There’s a utility room and a pantry for food and emergency provisioning, the sort of back-up Irish homes may increasingly need, given climate shifts and extreme weather events. In addition, there’s a west-facing family room, and two ground-floor bedrooms, with a Jack and Jill en-suite between them.

Overhead, meanwhile, are three more bedrooms, each of them en suite, with marble floors and reached past a walk-in closet, part of a generous storage provision pretty much throughout.

With slate roofs, some lead roof box dormers, and render with cedar facades, No 9 stands on sloping grounds on c 0.2 of an acre, in a fan-tail section of Ard Chuain off Church Hill, with some of the best views. Nearby, meanwhile, a dozen serviced sites of similar size have been selling in a scheme called Cill Mhuire through 2017, guided at €180,000/€185,000, so there’s even more families set for the area.

VERDICT: First open viewings take place straight after the Bank Holiday, on Tuesday at 5pm.

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