A CORK city house that has been a life-saving, holistic home-from-home for many hundreds of persons given cancer diagnoses now looks set to return to private, family accommodation and ‘domestic service’ once more.
Set close to the main Western Road entrance to UCC and within a five minute walk of the new, enlarged Bon Secours hospital to the west, and with the same proximity to the city centre and Mercy Hospital to the east, is Cliffdale, a mid 1900s-built detached home that has been the hospitable base of Cork ARC, a cancer support service, since 2003.
Founded with a Board of Trustees in 2001, the volunteer-based registered charity (now with rugby player Simon Zebo as its patron) took over the very accessible Cliffdale, which had been an already renovated private family home, on O’Donovan Rossa Road off the Western Road, and later extended it further, and did other upgrades over time.
No 5 O’Donovan Ross Road, or Cliffdale, has been used to provide a mix of welcoming services ranging from practical and emotional support to people from across Munster with cancer and their families, along with a range of therapies and activities, with the input of up to 70 volunteers and specialists.
Given an increase in demand for its services, Cork ARC moved in September of this year to a far larger premises, going from the 2,330 sq ft Cliffdale to the 8,000 sq ft period style Sarsfield House in Wilton in the western suburbs near the CUH, after a €1.6m refurbishment investment there.
As a result of the move, Cliffdale is now on the open market for sale. It is listed with estate agent TJ Cronin of Irish & European, who quotes a guide price of €675,000 and who says “if spaciousness, privacy, convenience and elegance be core requirements for your property, then a viewing of Cliffdale is truly a must.”
Separately, testimonials on Cork ARC’s own website have referred down the years since 2003 to the house’s homeliness and sense of warm welcome.
After its first few weeks on the market, it’s primarily getting interest and inquiries from private buyers, families in the main, including medics, and UCC-related academics, while some investor interest might also be anticipated given the number of bedrooms, and proximity to the college campus, now catering for over 22,000 students, and 1,000 staff also.
Cliffdale has a good mix of reception rooms at ground, with feature fireplace, stained glass panel, store, kitchen and guest WC and on its first floor level has six bedrooms plus main shower room/bathrooms.
Buyers not needing all six bedrooms might reduce the count down by one or two and add en suites or dressing rooms, and the profile of the residential stretch here is primarily owner-occupier says I&E’s TJ Cronin.
In excellent order overall, detached Cliffdale has off-street parking, a garden to the front and its south facing back garden is deliberately quite the verdant oasis, heavily planted with a mix of trees, shrubs, palms and more, and includes a sturdy timber garden room/chalet, as well as more feature brick work done by previous owners, developers Bobby and Ia Hilliard.
It’s set by the start of O’Donovan Rossa Road, and older Cork residents might recall visits along this leafy Leeside cul de sac to previous decades, when traditional Irish circuses like Duffys set up their Big Tops at the city end of this road.
The property’s grounds back up towards a steep rise of ground, up to Gilabbey Rock (hence, one can presume, the Cliffdale name?), to Connaught Avenue, from where it is overseen by the imperious Boer War memorial erected on high in the early 1900s.
To the front, O’Donovan Rossa Road’s Cliffdale looks towards the south channel of the River Lee by Donovan’s Bridge and Donovan Road, with these puzzling spelling variations on the ‘Donovan’ addresses likely to tax the most diligent of UCC scholars, pedants and postal workers.
VERDICT: A home that has done Munster some service.