Riverside house in a very special setting

Tommy Barker says that this well-appointed late-1990s family home benefits greatly from its idyllic location on Cork’s Rochestown Road

Rochestown Road, Cork - €675,000

  • Size: 208 sq m (2,244 sq ft)
  • Bedrooms: 5
  • Bathrooms: 4
  • BER: B3
  • Best Feature: Waterside

WATER aspect, estuary views, a skyline that lights up at night, and sleek, back cattle grazing in the greenest of fields almost alongside... Not really the sort of mix that you’d expect to find on Cork’s Rochestown Road.

But it’s all there, on the doorstep of Riverside, a niche late 1990s development of just a half-dozen homes, and where there’s only been one or two homes ever to change hands since they were first acquired.

Little wonder that few people know of its existence.

Now, No 5 is for sale, in the slow, off-season run up to Christmas, and, given how little of quality there is on the market at present, it deserves to get good viewings and bidding traction.

It’s guided at €675,000 by Ann O’Mahony and Florence Gabriel of of Sherry FitzGerald for its downsizing owners who bought it just as site works and clearance had started: given the setting down by the Douglas/Mahon estuary was overgrown with briars and brambles at the time, they really took a bit of a gamble on it.

They’d been looking at other houses in the area when they stumbled across Riverside, a relatively early project by builder Kieran Murphy of Murphy Construction, who went on to build far larger schemes up until the mid 2000s around Cork.

Riverside is accessed off the main Rochestown Road, almost directly opposite Clarkes Hill, and has its six houses down one side of a curved cul de sac, with the last four facing directly onto the tides of the estuary below. It appears the owners of No 6 keep a small boat across the private road, ready to launch at a moment’s notice, while the office blocks of Mahon, and the Webprint building, are subsequent impressive arrivals over the water to the north.

Some 20 years on in 5 Riverside’s case, there’s isn’t a crack or sign of movement, inside or outside, in its easy-keep dash and brick exterior.

And inside it’s simply immaculate, buffed and polished up and gleaming, with well-tended and easy-to-keep gardens thanks to a budget that, day one, densely planted the perimeters and has since bedded down to a good, aesthetic effect.

As they had bought at such an early stage, the couple asked for the house to be about 7’ wider, and 7’ deeper, that what was going to be the standard, and the buyers of another Riverside house also decided to follow suit with their home.

No 5’s occupants also added on a single-storey side room, as a home office/hobby room, with glazed doors front to back, so it’s bright and adaptable, and also has a door back into the main house’s hall for optional integration.

There are great accommodation options here as it stands.

Two of its five bedrooms have en-suite bathrooms, the master bedroom also has a wall of Sliderobes, and the attic is accessible for extra storage. Insulation standards have been added to since day one — considerably so in walls and attic — so that now No 5 hits a BER of B3 which is uncommon, especially for a 20-year-old cavity build.

At ground level, floors are gleaming hardwood, mostly narrow strip, and the kitchen has chunky and highly-polished terracotta tiles, with granite tops on the original pine units.

Separately, there’s a family room off the kitchen with sliding doors to the back, south-facing, patio and garden, and where one of two long-established wisterias frames the openings. It’s glorious each spring, with cascades of flowers, and it has recently been trimmed back after it made its way up to the first floor in its floral abundance.

A chin-beard of pieris, meanwhile, cloaks the lower part of some of the front of No 5, with two reception rooms looking out on the water, and towards working farm fields near the Rochestown Church (not everything is yet built on, thankfully!).

One, right of the part-panelled hall, is the drawing room, well sized at 19’ by 14’ with a fireplace. Left of the hall, and entered from the back, is a dining room, making for three receptions in all, plus there’s a utility, and guest WC.

While the decor’s fresh as anything, the ground floor layout is unchanged from day one, and so is quite traditional. Nothing at all wrong with that, but if the next family of occupants want a more contemporary open-plan kitchen/living/dining set-up, then breaking into the family room alongside should be fairly easily accomplished with the help of an RSJ to hold the fort.

Sherry Fitz’s Ann O’Mahony says the home “is very spacious and in showhouse condition throughout. ”

She goes on to say that it’s bright and “away from the hustle and bustle of life while still being in close proximity to the south ring road and the vibrant Douglas village.”

The property does indeed have that proximity, yet is in such a quiet location, with a rural/shoreline feel, has off-street parking and lush planting — the owners even lobbed a few plants in across the road by the water’s edge for visual interest — and a real feature behind is the shape of the smart lines of Carpinus Hornbeams. (This deciduous tree has been planted in serried lines along the back garden’s side wall, with the lower limbs lopped back on the trunk, so that the only leafy growth is above the wall. It’s a neat look, often referred to as ‘a hedge on legs’.)

VERDICT: A very decent home, in a special setting.

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