Tommy Barker whets his appetite at some delectable houses in Cobh.
A full-on view right down over Cobh, spanning water and islands, right out south to the mouth of Cork Harbour at Roches Point is the game-setter for new house sales at Dún Farraige.
Given the panorama, it’s little wonder that the three- acres site these four and five-bed detached A2-rated are being constructed on has a military/ navy past.
In previous times, and known as Belmont Huts, it was both a barracks site and a defensive spot with British guns trained on the harbour’s waters, and on any unwanted arrivals.
Set by Mount Eaton and Seapoint Carrignafoy, on the eastern flanks of Cobh’s gloriously rollercoasting hills and streets, and close to the Titanic Memorial Gardens and coastguard watchspots, development on this elevated site of close to three acres has been a long time coming.
At one stage, the Department of Defence had sold it for development and grossed about €3m for it in the mid-2000s.
After the recession came, it got offered for €165,000, then €265,000, viewed by about a dozen builders as the market started to recover.
It sold for around €400,000 to a company that got planning for 18 houses via architects O’Mahony Pike, and it sold it on in 2016, with a €1m price guide quoted.
Taking on the development now with planning for 21 builds, with a showhouse opened and sales secured, is Leinster-based Havencross Developments, which has built in Enfield, Co Meath, Donabate, Co Dublin, and also with Cork coastal views, at Bharr na Halle in Crosshaven’s Church Bay.
The planning/design has changed slightly from that first granted permission to OMP, and plans for semi-ds were dropped in favour of all detacheds, on a stepped site, while earlier plans for split level houses on the lower section may be altered again, in favour of flat- roofed ones so as not to mar the current clear harbour view from what’s currently being constructed.
Havencross has opened a show house by Dún Farraige’s entrance for the four-bed 1,680sq ft four house type, with 10 in a row of this type being delivered.
Two of the 10 are sold at €440,000 each, and later ones are being priced at €460,000, says agent Conor Spillane of DNG Spillane.
And he has three of the largest type of four beds, of just over 2,000sq ft, sold, at prices of €575,000, making them quite the dearest new houses sold in Cobh in many years. Also in Cobh, DNG Spillane has sold out phase one of Cooline, a development of 170 houses at prices from €199,000 for a mid-terraced 90sq m house, with end terraces at €215,000, three-bed semis sold at €244,000, four-bed semis at €288,000, and four-bed detacheds at €325,000.
The Dún Farraige houses are very deep, rather than wide, so the views are from the heavily-glazed ground floor sitting room in the main, and from two of the first-floor bedrooms, including from the en suite master bedroom, with windows tall rather than wide.
Finish levels internally are high, with air-to-water geothermal heating via radiators, timber frame construction (using Dempsey Timber Engineering ‘Lifestyle’ wall panels) and external finishes are a mix of render and brick; the sale prices include most flooring, tiling, decoration, fitted kitchens and appliances, with printed concrete paved front drive and side terrace.
The rear gardens are terraced, up steel steps, fringed at the back by the high old stone wall of the barracks site.
After a few open viewings, there’s been over 200 viewings to date (including curious locals who’ve heard of development coming here for years’).
Mr Spillane saysthe buyer profile at Dún Farraige to date is traders-down and relocators, rather than family traders-up, as might have been expected (perhaps due to the site’s gradient and tiered gardens) with a premium put on the views, which can be seen in comfort, in all weathers, thanks to an A2 BER.
The market has ‘taken a view,’ and has jumped for the dearer, €575,000 2,000sq ft detacheds, for the clearest vistas.
Cobh, Cork Harbour
Size: 1,680 sq ft/2,002sq ft