This edge-of-city ‘rural’ home has space to attract a wide buyer base, writes Tommy Barker.
It's not just Dublin that has a district called The Liberties, so too has Cork. But, not too many people now know that.
Cork’s Liberties goes back 500 years or more, defining a boundary of the barony of Cork, within a three-mile radius of the municipal borough of Cork city.
Very old maps, and some more modern ones and addresses too, still recall the extent of Cork’s Liberties.
Thus, just as the hills south of the city level out beyond Bishopstown and the Viaduct, and along towards Halfway and West Cork beyond along the N71 is Liberty Hill, part of the sprawling Waterfall address.
Passers-by might best get their Liberty Hill bearings by noting the signposted location of Rumley’s Open Farm?
It’s a working farm-based venture on 20 acres which has mushroomed since 2012, with cafe, kids’ activities and a menagerie that includes pigs, calfs, camels, lambs and llamas, monkeys, exotic fowl, water buffalo and deer —with the latter likely to feature in its Winter Wonderland pre-Christmas attractions and crib.
Set on a height par with Liberty Hill is Briar Hill, a short country lane bounded originally by farmland, and now ribboned with one-off ‘cribs’ for full creature comforts a mix of modest, mid-sized and sizeable bungalows and some two-storey detached houses, built when sites were seen as a cash crop for landowners, mostly dating from the 1970s in the main, along with a few more recent interlopers.
One of the earlier arrivals ribboning out along Briar Hill was Cluain an Óir, a very accommodating bungalow on a 0.75 acre site with southerly rear aspect, and long, distant views over farmland and a valley (helped by being built a few extra feet above ground, with step access,) with autumnally harvested fields giving this house the golden ‘óir’ its name.
It has been in the same hands since 1975, bought at the time by a family relocating at the time from Dublin, with schools in the city and work in Bandon it’s as well placed to serve young and old, and city and rural, as well as having easy access to the airport and Kinsale via Ballinhassig’s network of back roads.
The city ring road is five minutes by car, and the decades since the 1970s have also seen the N71 road out from the Viaduct made over to dual carriageway in the interim, while it’s also served by the Bandon bus at the N71, and a less regular bus runs at school times along back roads, including Briar Hill itself.
Curiously, it’s a bus service used by a grandson of the 1970’s purchasers, who now lives in Bandon and goes to school in Bishopstown.
Family cycles have moved on too, and Cluain an Óir is now for sale as a trade-down move. It is well worth coming out the extra few miles from the city for, for home hunters who want space and scope, in an accessible edge-of-city setting.
It’s guided at €375,000 by estate agent Ernest of Forde of Hodnett Forde, and its initial online description almost misleadingly described it just as a three-bed home.
However, it’s much more than that, as a few extra bedrooms and a home office were created in the ‘70s, at one end, with dormer-style bedrooms up at attic level, with gable windows.
Since then, this section evolved further into a standalone two-bed unit or apartment, with bathroom, and kitchen/ living room. It has its own independent access, front and back, as well as having a connecting door to the main house, by the family room/ sun room.
At the long house’s far end are three more bedrooms, one with shower section, plus main family bathroom.
Mid-ships are an 18ft by 14ft living room with fireplace, there’s a guest bathroom by the front door, and to the back, is a super-bright 20ft by 12ft kitchen (dated Murray units in cheery yellow!), with this home’s best southerly views and aspect opening to a sun-trap terrace.
In all, there’s very close to 2,400sq ft within, most at ground level and it’s very adaptable, with scope for income, or just independence for inter-generational living thanks to that two-bed apartment at the eastern end.
Add in the provision of a double garage on the private 0.75 acre site, and there’s a whole lot of property at the modest guide.
Once a few people get to appreciate what’s on offer, it’s likely that bidding will push it up further than the €375k AMV, guide, whilst its good overall condition as it stands that buyers can move in and modernise as they see fit, and as budgets allow.
It’s already had a wraparound of exterior insulation installed (including right around the original stone-faced chimney on the front facade), has double glazing, a replacement boiler in quite recent times and gets a quite solid C2 BER as a result.
Ready for its next occupants to take their own ‘liberties’, with considerable further scope.
Briar Hill, Liberties, Waterfall, Cork
Size: 223 sq m (2,395 sq ft)
Bedrooms: 3 + 2-bed apt