This south-facing Cork home in leafy Tivoli is in excellent nick — and has extra potential too, writes Tommy Barker
Size: 222 sq m (2,400 sq ft)
The name, Meridian Heights, might crop up as a location across a number of countries and cities globally on a Google search, but Cork’s own one-off Meridian Heights has an aptness to its title: it picks up on the original meaning of the word ‘meridian,’ which is a line of longitude, and essential as an aid to navigating our world.
Cork’s Meridian Heights is on a lofty enough perch, halfway up the Tivoli Estate on the hilly eastern shoulders of Cork city, above the River Lee and across from the leafy Marina.
Apart from the natural beauty of the setting, the view from this 0.3 acre south-facing setting includes the current container depot for the Port of Cork, and its regular maritime ship arrivals from the four corners of the globe... however that circle gets squared.
There’s always something moving to watch on the river, including the port’s dwindling mainstay activities. At weekends, the river’s alive with rowers out from the several rowing clubs dotted along the Marina and into Blackrock village, along with the more leisurely grunts from the currachs of Meitheal Mara.
The next decade is set to bring significant changes to the Tivoli Docks, as the Port of Cork moves on its €80m relocation plan to Ringaskiddy: master plans, including input from architects’ body, the RIAI, are in the wings, to allow for development of residential quarters, and amenities, for as many as 3,000 new Tivoli residents.
So, in some respects, there are views from Meridian Heights of Cork’s past, present, and future: you’d never get tired of looking out, and down.
It must have been a keen appreciation of the vista at the property’s feet that prompted the long-time owners of this detached five/six-bed home to reorder its ground-floor living areas and upgrade them, about five years ago.
Around the same time, the owners also got full planning permission for a second, contemporary, four-bed detached home in a section of their quite extensive, manicured gardens by a chicane within the Tivoli Estate — the estate is home to about 30 individual homes, pretty much spanning every design type from just about every decade since the mid-1900s.
Corkonians and visitors to the city strolling the Marina, across the River Lee, get the very best appreciation of the array of homes at the likes of Lovers Walk and its offshoots like the Tivoli Estate, Woodhill Park, and Falcon Hill: some are more handsome that others, and there are hardly any that doesn’t have a view to die for.
At Tivoli Estate’s prime-set Meridian Heights, to maximise light and views, the occupants opened up and out the original’s house’s central core to provide a very large, double/triple aspect linked and L-shaped living/kitchen/dining suite. It’s now about 28’ wide, with impressively large triple-glazed sliding doors taking up most of this former front wall space.
The room’s other dimension is about 36’ front-to-back, dipping well back into the well-ordered kitchen with its array of units in a mix of maple and gloss finishes, plus central island.
There’s also a utility/laundry room.
This comfortable family home’s ground floor also has a rear lounge/family room, well shelved for books and games, and has a wall-mounted contemporary-style gas fire to the side.
Most of the reordering was done five or six years ago, and it included the addition of a ground- floor bedroom, with double aspect, great sunny views to the front.
Behind, is a high quality, fully-tiled large en suite/wetroom with shower. This side room can be used for a range of purposes, including guests and adult children. It handily quite future-proofs the property for times when mobility might be an issue.
Other than that, upstairs at Meridian Heights are five bedrooms, plenty for most family needs when it comes time to lay down one’s head.
Of those five beds, the two at the front at first-floor level have a double aspect and the best views, and the main/master bedroom has its own large en-suite bathroom with a shower above a Jacuzzi- jetted bath. The upstairs landing is sort-of in two sections, serving front and back rooms, as well as the modernised main bathroom with a double shower.
Two of the three other bedrooms get water views, downriver to the east and past Blackrock village and Blackrock castle, and there’s also a good-sized, step-in linen press with immersion tank.
Overall, this c 70 year old now-extended five/six bedroomed home has 2,400 sq ft within, all of it highly usable, and recent updates have blended a fresh, modern, feel with some older style features.
The absolute hot spot is the upfront, enlarged living room with all of its glass and views. Heating here in the sweet spot comes from a tall, upright, contemporary-style wood-burning stove.
Externally, its grounds are extremely well kept, with tiered outdoor terraces and sitting out areas close to the house, and there’s lots of parking on an apron of brick paved drive.
The site of over 0.3 of an acre has, at its eastern side by the entrance gate, a section with planning still live for a second detached house, but the clock is ticking down now on that permission.
Selling agent for Meridian House is Michael O’Donovan of Savills, and he guides all-in at €695,000, noting its space, setting, amenities and excellent overall condition, as well as the extra site’s potential, now or in the future.
The Property Price Register shows eight house resales at chi-chi Tivoli Estate.
Five of them were for over €500k, and the top price paid was back in 2015 when one of the more modern and larger one-offs, Laurcam House, made €825,000 (a few of the houses built since the 2000s at the uppermost tier are up to 5,000sq ft in size, and, if ever up for sale, might €1m-plus be their owners’ price hopes?
In the same Lovers Walk vicinity, a detached home called Roscúil — on great ground secluded off Beale’s Hill and redone with architectural élan — went past its 2019 €790k advised minimum values (AMV) with Sherry FitzGerald, selling within months for €845,000.
A Tivoli Estate/Lovers Walk house, Villa Franca, is also currently for sale with joint agents Sherry Fitz and Keane Mahony Smith, now repriced at €560,000.
And, right opposite the Lovers Walk entrance to the Tivoli estate, stands the sweeping entrance to Lee Mount, a rebuilt home on part of the Woodhill estate, with over 5,000 sq ft ft of high-end finishes.
Savills’ Michael O’Donovan has Lee Mount ‘sale agreed’ for about its €1.25m AMV, and also says there’s advanced discussions on Arbutus Lodge, closer to the city at Montenotte and St Luke’s Cross, which is for sale with a €1.35m price guide.
VERDICT: Bit of a price roll on Cork’s sloping northside wooded hills, where the sun almost always shines.