You might need a machete to do the first clear viewings of this Lee Valley home in the making — but, for those prepared to hack past the overgrowth, and to look beyond the overgrown boundaries, a treasure just may lay in waiting, looking to be unearthed.
Up for sale at Inniscarra Bridge, within a stone’s throw of the Ballincollig Regional Park and carrying a price guide of €185,000 is the chance to build — or, at least, to complete — a detached home, rather euphemistically described by its selling agents OM2 as “a dream home in suburbia.” It could be one in waiting, though, but ‘suburbia’ is a stretch.
Initially started as someone’s else’s dream back in 2010, it was a project that hit owners’ difficulties, around the time the blockwork on the c 3,000 sq ft detached property-to-be was rising up: thus, work stopped at wall-plate level, with what was to be a dormer style first floor left, almost literally, up in the air.
In the decade since, overgrowth has closed in on the perimeter, with a mini-thicket to the back, where a patio was planned: now, it has effectively self-planted with wispy, sallie-like bushes on the doorstep ... if there was a door to be overstepped.
Key to its appeal now that it’s on the open market is the setting, and it’s in a place right on the edge of Ballincollig where there is practically a zero percent chance of ever getting planning permission for anyone to build.
It’s in the midst of densely overgrown site of 0.3 of an acre, with neighbouring homes either side. The three existing large detacheds are here for decades, and there’s nothing but fields rolling out, flat and level, back to the east.
The road outside, known as the Inniscarra Road, is a short, straight run from Ballincollig’s West Village and the fabulous Regional Park which links up with the main Carrigrohane-Inniscarra road by the Inniscarra Bar, sort of bookending two very different ‘public’ local landmarks. This part-built house is set about 250 metres from the early 1800s’-built 12 stone arched Inniscarra Bridge itself, a narrow structure constructed at the time to allow the future development of the Ballincollig barracks and River Lee-powered gunpowder mills, and to link with what was the old Killarney road, just to the north.
Ironically, that long, slender bridge was built to open up Ballincollig, but by the late 20th and early 21st centuries, its narrow width meant it became a constricting traffic bottleneck, especially when trucks try to traverse it. As a partial remedy, it’s now effectively ribboned on either end by low and high level traffic lights.
Selling agent for this Inniscarra Bridge-located part-built home is auctioneer John O’Mahony, with a long track record in Ballincollig as a founding partner in O’Mahony Walsh. He’s now trading in a new entity OM2/J&M O’Mahony, in Cork and Macroom, with partner Michael O’Mahony who’s a qualified auctioneer and engineer.
In fact, Michael O’Mahony was this designer of this house for its original clients/owners, and so has all relevant knowledge which may be of use to its next owners, once it changes hands, and its planning is still valid, at least up until October of this year.
John O’Mahony says he has already started viewings and he reports good interest from people who’d like a one-off, finished to their own specifications, in an area where planning permissions now are effectively frozen.
Of likely note to those considering completing ‘the dream,’ is that construction saw it raised up off normal ground levels given its river proximity, a mile or two downriver of the Inniscarra dam with surrounding land having been prone to flooding and impacted by the devastating 2009 flood from a dam water release by the ESB.
VERDICT: in a special setting, it has a low initial cost, but the planning clock is ticking on.
Size: 286 sq m (3,078 sq ft)
Best Feature: rare setting