THERE’S a quite timeless appeal to the interiors and grounds of this renovated and extended farm house, high above Cork city at Mount Desert, Clogheen.
Dating to 1900, it has in its many days seen lots of changes: the city grew out towards it, but the growth was slowed by green belt policies.
City and street lighting now means a carpet-like view below from its lofty perch of twinkling lights at night, and it also tracks from afar the flights into and out of Cork airport, miles away to the south, and which is also set on the crest of another of the city’s surrounding hills.
And, almost on Mount Desert’s doorstep, a certain American company called Apple employs thousands of people, from all over the world at even more elevated Hollyhill.
When this house was first built, apples came in orchards, end of story, and the first patent on Alexander Graham Bell’s telephonic invention was just 25 years old.
It’s not just changes on the wider front that this stone-built home has seen. Newer and neighbouring homes have snuggled up to it, east and west, some contemporary and more built quite recently in former, large gardens.
Now, as a result, there’s about a dozen families living in this elevated Clogheen cluster with southerly views, just beyond the Church of the Most Precious Blood and the Blarney Road junction, a few minutes by car from the top of Blarney Street and from Sunday’s Well.
Still maintaining its essential privacy thanks to mature boundaries, about 30 years ago this particular home (one of the older ones in the area,) was taken gently in hand, restored and extended, using and integrating salvaged items and quality timbers, including pitch pine, oak, old convent baths and wash-stands, a Belfast sink, and ladderback pine doors plus other four-panel old pine doors, as well as salvaged early 1900s cast iron fireplaces, with brass inserts.
It was brought up to speed and modern specs in several stages too, so that now there are two en suite bedrooms among its five, and it has recently upgraded to zoned gas central heating and solar panels for lashing of hot water
Today, it has a Rangemaster cooker set in an alcove in a country style kitchen with moccha-hued metro splashback tiles, white units and pink granite tops, and tiled floors running up to pitch-pine boards in the dining section.
Other rooms include an oak-floored, double aspect living room with antique fireplace, a similar sized double-aspect lounge with solid fuel stove set into the fire opening, a dining room (with off-set fireplace) which opens to a slate-roofed sun room addition, south facing with city glimpses through trees, and there’s a ground floor bathroom, with Victorian cast iron bath, saved from a Kenmare convent.
Overhead, thanks to an extension is another bathroom, and four of the five bedrooms which are off a split landing are doubles, with two en suites while decor is warm, neutral comfortable, with period-appropriate wallpapers in some rooms, set off by old brass beds, and low-set windows with views from the southern side.
Estate agent Sean McCarthy of ERA Downey McCarthy launches this lovely, accessible home on a half-acre site at a guide of €595,000, and he praises its careful renovations, and presentation with modern creature comforts, but due regard to original character and charm, with retained features and tended sunny private grounds.
Those grounds bound the road, with cobble lock drive past plain entrance gates, and there’s a detached double garage and — a clincher for any kids — a timber, two-storey garden playhouse, and trees galore for swings, slides and hammocks.
At the €595k guide, it’s approximately half the sum sought when last placed on the market, having floated at €1.2 million in 2007, as the market was primed for downturn, but with the collapse in values yet to follow.
Now, it’s not just still eminently attractive, it’s had further spending, and is priced for a market in full-flight recovery, an economy back on the march and with a global brand like Apple right on its doorstep. Core values, indeed.
VERDICT: Country-living lite, real old world feel and charm, yet so close to the city, Apple, CUH, and even EMC.
Size: 177 sq ft (1,900 sq ft)
Best Feature: Edge of city retreat
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