Former Verger’s house is surplice to requirements

CLOSE enough to Cork’s St Fin Barre’s Cathedral to hear the choirs, the former Verger’s House is going for something a bit more than a song.

A verger is a church caretaker and attendant and here in the shadow of St Fin Barre’s tallest 240ft spire, the verger would traditionally have carried the ceremonial staff before a bishop.

No longer needed by the church body and by Bishop Paul Colton and deemed ‘surplice to requirements’, the attractive detached town house and its site of a 0.8 of an acre is being sold prior to Christmas by public auction.

It is being billed as a development opportunity, as the gardens to the left have planning permission granted for two new semi-detached dwellings.

Not only will it attract the eye of small developers, but it will also appeal to first-time developers (architects, engineers and those who want to do something a bit tasty) and, perhaps, live in the original house or one of the new dwellings when all the building work is done.

It is going to be sold by agents Hamilton Osborne King on December 13, and a €650,000-plus guide is attached - get it for this sort of sum though, and you could consider it a bit of a Christmas gift.

Each house site could be valued around €200,000 apiece and the setting is suitable for anyone looking for a place that’s just a bit novel, but not off the beaten track.

Address is no 30 St Fin Barre’s Place, which is a typically Cork curving and stepped lane, largely pedestrianised, leading from Proby’s Quay/Bishop Street to Dean Street and Fort Street - even the names underscore the historic setting.

Rising up behind are the tall walls of Elizabeth Fort, now cleaned up by the OPW, while the cathedral itself is undergoing a multi-million euro conservation investment.

The site is associated with Cork’s founder, Fin Barre, who founded a monastery here said to date to the sixth and seventh centuries and there’s been a succession of churches on this spot since the middle ages.

The current cathedral and the finest, was designed by William Burges (1827 - 1881) and was built by 1870 in the French Gothic style, at a cost of over £100,000. In limestone, it features ornamental mosaics, carvings, gargoyles and gildings, a rose window and a peal of bells.

Peter Cave of HOK describes the red-brick, former Verger’s House as Victorian and it has three bedrooms, bathroom, two ground-floor reception rooms and a kitchen - a layout similar to many a three-bed semi-d, only with more original features, good fireplaces, etc.

The house, which has been rented for a number of years, is in good overall condition, has gas central heating, an alarm and timber sash windows in front and aluminium elsewhere.

There’s limited car access from above on Dean Street, with a tight parking space and building supplies for the two new builds can be brought down this way.

* A foretaste of the delights on the doorstep comes Saturday next, December 3, when Cor Cois Abhann Corcaigh and Kerry Choral Union sing Music for Advent and Christmastide in the Cathedral at 8.00pm. Tickets on the door.

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