Lodge with big appeal

The charms of No 4 Coolmore Lodge have not been lost on flocks of house-hunters intent on a new pecking order, writes Tommy Barker.

WHATEVER social pecking order connotations there may have been about living in a lodge on a landed estate, well, they’re well and truly banished at No 4, Coolmore Lodge.

One of eight, limestone-built estate lodges by the formal gate entrance to the still-grand and stately Coolmore House, most but not all eight have been upgraded down the years by a succession of appreciative owners. In fact it all seems quite posh.

Design – in the romantic English Cottage neo-Gothic style – was by British architect Thomas Cundy, for the Newenham family who back in the early 1800s controlled 2,700 acres of South Cork lands. Their large, imposing Coolmore House can be seen from the Crosshaven Road, now with Cork harbour’s towering wind vanes visible off in the distance.

Sharp-eyed and quick-witted passers-by of a certain vintage may remember Coolmore House having been used as ‘the Big House’ for Hugh Leonard’s TV adaptation of Molly Keane’s great (and ever so slightly sly,) novel Good Behaviour. There’s still a fine working farm at Coolmore, still in Newenham family hands too, beyond the sentinel lodges.

Separated into two clusters, either side of tall demesne pillars, the eight Coolmore Lodges have got cute, kerb-appeal even as you drive past on the Carrigaline-Currbinny estuary flanking route, with communal front gardens, more private back ones, some communal raised veg beds, and a sense of community among the neighbours. The lodges are widely known and admired, and when they come for sale they’re inclined to move on swiftly. At least four have changed hands since 2000.

Within the first few weeks of going to market with Jean Shanahan of DNG Condon, No 4 Coolmore Lodges has had 40-50 eager visits, with several grouped viewings deemed necessary to cope with swift demand.

Already, some smitten home hunters (from the locale, the UK and even Dubai) are coming back for a second look. lured as much by the charm and comfort as by the €190,000 asking price, appealing equally to first-time buyers, traders down and relocaters.

Just about everyone who’s been here so far is charmed, says DNG’s Jean Shanahan, and they’re also impressed with the amount of space on offer, especially at ground level, and by the quality of work done. Add in the fact the owners managed to squeeze in two en suite bathrooms upstairs, on top of a ground floor main bathroom with bath, and there’s a bit of Tardis-like trickery going on in this 1,150 sq ft tasty home.

The vendors have been here 14 years, and are now trading up for even more space as they’ve two young children who’ve arrived on the scene since they bought and started renovations and extension. No two of these eight lodges are identical, though nearly all have had work done, and just one seems to have retained its very original leaded windows as a reminder of their early 1800s construction.

Here at No 4, replacement windows are in quality painted timber frames, with decent double glazing and lead effects and walls have been dry-lined; it’s been rewired and replumbed, there’s a sunny kitchen extension a bit like a ship’s bridge, with pink granite topped units and Neff appliances – and it’s all in an immaculate decorative state.

The kitchen links into a family room, with long wall of exposed stone hosting a solid fuel/wood-burning stove, and the mantlepiece here, plus some other shelving, is in highly polished spalted beech, with a real sense of space in this nicely-extended room.

Two large Velux windows in the vaulted ceiling help draw in extra light, necessary given the room’s surprising depth. Also at ground level is a long hall, leading up to the front door, with simple fanlight overhead. The main bathroom’s to a high spec, and there’s also a separate front living room, with electric wall-mounted fire, and handy arched cupboard behind a discreet door.

Decor throughout is to a high standard, with neutral colours, featuring some exposed original building materials as a reminder of the house’s quite considerable age (200 years next year) and with quality blinds and carpets.

Upstairs the shape of the three bedrooms (two doubles and a compact single), with sloping ceilings under slate roofs, is another reminder of the house’s once-modest roots. Getting in two en suite shower rooms is some achievement, with neither managing to be any less a wash space than found in comparable sized three-bed semis or townhouses.

No 4 has a fairly private walled-in rear garden,with rear access, well-planted up with shrubs and with several al fresco seating/eating spaces.

Screened off is a side section, home to the tank for the oil heating, recycling bins and wood store, as well as to a timber shed which has power and plumbing, and hosts a washing machine, dryer and freezer.

In essence, it’s exactly an outside or external utility/laundry and is in the same spot where No 4’s original outdoor loo would have stood. As a further bonus, each of the houses in this cluster has its own garage, four in a row, beyond the shared or communal veg and herb beds. To anyone used to the strictures of management companies, it all seems frightfully civilised, and very neighbourly.

VERDICT: Coolmore Lodges appear testament to Good Behaviour.

Currabinny, Cork €190,000

Sq m 107 (1,150 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 3

Bathrooms: 3


Best Feature: Sensitive modernisation of old lodge


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