Period home near Cork city's south docks and new office blocks

Pictures: Stephen O’Donoghue

Tommy Barker says life can be good and No 10 can get full marks after some gentle tweaks at this terrace off the Old Blackrock Road.

THERE’S a charm to the mid-terraced No 10 Sorrenta Villas: this early 1900s house is quite lovely as it stands: factor in a location on the Old Blackrock Road, and it even bumps a bit further up the scale of attraction.

No 10’s second from the end of the terrace of 11 houses, near where the Old Blackrock Road meets up with Victoria Avenue, as well being close to the traffic lights where the Victoria Road kicks off on the Blackrock Road proper. And now it may well be on a home-hunters’ radar also, given its city centre proximity, and the imminent arrival of a new public park along the Marina, by Páirc Uí Chaoimh, courtesy of City Hall.

Already, or more accurately at last, Cork’s south city dockland development is coming closer to this Victorian and Edwardian era residential nexus, with the first of several hundred financial services jobs arriving this past week at the first phase of O’Callaghan Properties’ development Navigation Square, on Albert Quay, via anchor tenant Clearstream.

About 200 Clearstream employees, some newly recruited, other’s relocating from the Cork Airport Business Park, made the quays moves from Monday, with further jobs set to flow and other tenant announcements pending, according to OCP’s managing director Brian O’Callaghan.

Change comes slower, though, for a more specific location like the Old Blackrock Road, where the past 20 years has seen only a few infill developments arrive, with the Rochelle former school development (also, coincidentally, by OCP) the largest to-date, while the redevelopment to residential usage of the fire-damaged Springville House near Ashton on the main Blackrock Road is also pending.

Now, a chance to buy into ‘an original of the species’ has come along with the arrival of No 10 Sorrenta Terrace (no, it’s not ‘Sorrento’ after Naples, or even Dalkey) to the open market, for family owners, and it’s priced at €325,000 by estate agent Trish Stokes of Lisney.

It’s a two storey home with interconnected reception rooms, front and back, each with fireplaces at ground level off a hall with original encaustic Victorian tiles, in black and red. The rooms have new oak flooring, and a very effective addition is the attractively-painted wainscoting/dado wall panelling, with rebate detailing picked up from the rooms’ original doors.

Up topmost is a good attic conversion, where the top floor’s given over to one quite large room, about 16’ square, with honeyed pine wood sheeted ceilings, and has a couple of Veluxes overlooking the front and rear gardens.

It has permanent stair access, but doen’t meet strict building/fire regs and so this uppermost level can’t properly be described as habitable, or as a bedroom, but it’s there to be used, even if just for ‘storage.’

At mid level, there are two bedrooms, the one across the front is a bit of a gem, with two original sash windows, original fireplace, and a bit of dog-leg to the side for a niche seating or study space. The second bedroom, also a double with fireplace, overlooks the back garden, while the house’s sole bathroom is off a stair return, with a shower over the bath, extensively tiled.

The kitchen’s sort of galley style, and has a side door out to the rear garden, walled in and lawned, with the left boundary wall marked out by the next door neighbour’s very long single storey extension.

No 10 faces fairly directly south, and the owner has kept the front wall and original railings and gate onto the Old Blackrock Road, opting to use on-street parking (with council residents’ permit) with a path up to the front doors, next to a simple box window to the front living room with window seat withing.

Many of the neighbours in the terrace have opted to open up their front gardens for off-street parking, so a new owner (if a car owner/driver) may seek planning permission to follow suit, handy if allowed, as the road just outside can get busy at peak commuter times.

No 10’s overall condition is good, but once in proud new possession its next owners will want to put their own stamp. As it gets an E2 BER, and a number of the original sash windows and casement windows most of the windows need attention, these may be areas amongst the first to be addressed, while there’s already gas fired central heating in place as a practical back-up to the several attractive fireplaces.

The Price Register shows three sales over the past decade or so at Sorrenta Villas, the most recent being in 2017 when No 5 made €337,000, No 2 sold in ‘13 for €271,000, and the end terrace No 11, now all updated and extended made €295,000 in 2011.

VERDICT: Gentle tweaks will work wonders with winsome No 10.

Old Blackrock Road,

Cork City


Size: 120 sq m (1,290 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 2/3

Bathrooms: 1


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