318 sq m (3,421 sq ft)
Bedrooms: 4 + attic
The address is No 1 Limeworth, but, back when it was first built in 2002, and was the first completed, outlier house in what went on to be a very successful scheme of over 30 large detached homes, it was known simply as “That House,” as it was, quite literally out on its own.
Well, the name didn’t last all that long, and it didn’t take that much time before new-builds were coming in and bedding down beyond No 1’s niche, tucked-away setting in what had traditionally been a fruit farm, on the Killumney Road, in Carriganarra.
The setting is just south of the approach to Ballincollig west of Cork city, and just north of the game-changing Ballincollig N40 bypass. Since No 1 was built, and since Limeworth evolved, the location has just improved in just about every way, driven by accessibility with the bypass, and subsequently, Limeworth even got its own set of traffic lights, for easy access and egress from the Killumney Road.
Since then, too, Ballincollig’s 1983-founded, and highly regarded Gaelscoil Uí Riordáin has relocated next door to Limeworth at Carriganarra, in a new purpose-built school for 750 primary school pupils, enhanced with superb astroturf sport facilities, while long-established West Cork builders Murnane & O’Shea/MOS Homes have returned to the ‘fold’ here, just on the eastern side of the gaelscoil with the new 210-unit Heathfield new homes development (see story p16-17 this issue,) having previously built Highfield Park and The Maltings nearby on Station Road.
Limeworth was conceived of in the early 2000s by local farmer and fruit grower Denis O’Driscoll, who offered serviced site with planning in place for individual detached homes, all done to a broadly similar external template of render, and slate roofs, designed by architect Tony Dennehy, and very broadly varying in size from c 2,000 to 3,400 sq ft per home.
First up then was, indeed, No 1, built on what had been a patch used for growing strawberries, the owners who’ve been here from day one recall. They used builder John Corcoran for their brand-new, out of the box, high-spec three storey home, as they prepared to relocate from a county community north of Cork city – where they’d previously built a bungalow on acres of family-owned land.
They set out a generous specification, of high end touches, but eschewed the bling, and the result is an understated, rock-solid home big enough for almost any family, all generously provided for.
It’s built of traditional masonry, with a Ducon slab allowing for underfloor heating both at ground and at first floor level, and it’s delivered via an almost ‘hotel-sized’ gas boiler in a stand-alone garden room/store, for utter internal tranquillity: it gives all day long comfort factors, without so much as a whisper of its existence.
Internally, No 1 has masses of open and airy living spaces, crowned by a rear, directly west facing sun room with patio/deck access, all overlooking an utterly private and sheltered landscaped garden, with small lawn, covered BBQ deck by the store/boiler room and naturalistic water feature and spout set into stone, and surrounded by mosses, designed by landscaper Reg Roper. (An ESB worker who came to trim trees on Limeworth’s western boundary had wondered what spring all the water was coming from, while the owners compare the times spent mowing grass here (three minutes per session) to their previous rural home, which took three hours.
Now, after being here since 2002, and with adult children all living and working outside of Cork, they are keen to downsize, and are going for another brand new, but smaller home, and staying in the vicinity as they say the bypass has put all of the greater Cork area on their doorstep.
It’s listed with estate agent Malcolm Tyrrell of Cohalan Downing, and he guides at €875,000, boldly asserting that “it’s probably number one, in more ways than one, in Limeworth.” At one stage in the mid-2000s to the boom-time peak, a few of the bigger homes here came for sale with €1m+ price tags, and one or two indeed did make ‘the Big Note,’ but by the time the Price Register came along, recording sales from 2010, the prices fell to lower averages, and the highest sum yet recorded is at €745,000, back in 2010, for No 15.
Despite the arrival recently of new homes schemes containing large detacheds on Cork Model Farm Road, such as at Rosefield on the former Nangle nurseries site, and Steeplewoods on the Killumney Road, and at top prices of €750,000-€800,000, there really hasn’t been anything for years quite like Limeworth, with over 30 detacheds only, says Mr Tyrrell. He simply describes No 1 as “ a great family house.” It has a sheltered, angled porch entrance leading to a hushed, carpeted hall with ash timber staircase: off to the left is a double aspect, comfortable living room, over 20’ deep and 16’ wide, which leads in turn to the five-sided sun room through double doors.
There’s a feature fireplace and, facing it, double doors to a mid-section dining room and, more double doors to the kitchen/breakfast room, which has access to the back garden evening sun trap, and day-long views of the water feature.
The kitchen is made with in-frame units, in the palest of solid maple, done by craftsman David Kiely, with some feature dovetail joints in small drawers, and there’s a back bay window by the sink, a two tiered island/breakfast unit. All units are topped with black granite, and appliances span the likes of Siemens, Miele, De Dietrich, Belling and Kenwood.
Separately, there’s a utility , cloak room of the hall with guest WC, and a front facing family living/drawing room, with open fireplace, in a sandstone surround.
Upstairs, the heft (and silence) of a Ducon slab floor is still felt, with one side of the upstairs effectively given over to a large, double aspect master bedroom with walk-through dressing roms, fully decked out with shelving, drawers and hanging space also done by David Kiely, while next up then is the large en suite with double shower, and – as is also the case in the main family bathrooms, the mirrors are heated behind so as not not mist up with steam.
Two further bedrooms are well-sized and served by a private en suite bathrooms with showers, and one other shares an en suite in a Jack and Jill set up which also function as the main family bathroom. It’s just a well the gas boiler is a big ‘un, as this bathroom has a sizeable jetted Jacuzzi bath, with discrete lighting set behind a low-level timber surround.
In addition, there’s an optional small bedroom five, but this has been used for the past decade as a home office, with a desk and units in pear timber (also done by cabinet maker David Kiely who, indeed, did all of the the built-ins in No 1’s main bedrooms,) and the house has CAT 5 cabling, as well as a BOSE surround sound system in several of the principal rooms.
A discrete door on the landing, meanwhile next to the linen press, has a further flight of stairs to a 25’ by 10’ attic level playroom, home to a pool table and den seating, and this is the only room with radiators, rather than underfloor heating.
There’s lots of storage up here, and storage aplenty also on the lower level in tucked away spots: it’s not really a home where you’ll be caught for space, or storage, which is just as well as Christmas seems to be quite the thing and seasonal entertaining on a big scale is taken as a given.
Come December, and despite Limeworth’s overall development on ten acres having retreated into communally and individually landscaped and settled glories, No 1 has been know to stick its head up a tad, as ‘That House’s’ entire roof eaves are permanently wired up for rope lighting, for switching on to good, festive Christmas cheer each year’s end.
“When it’s sold, we’ll have to go the long way around those holiday weeks, rather than pass it with someone else living here and enjoying it all, instead of us,” quip the departing occupants of the past 15 Christmases at No 1.
VERDICT: A family home for the long haul.