Set your sights on this house

Tommy Barker reports on a property awash with maritime history.

IT is easy to get your bearings to Whitepoint House, especially from the sea. The 1820s-built large home is close to the water's edge in Cobh, on Great Island in Cork, and bench marks on the front steps suggest that this house was used as a navigational marker for shipping in previous centuries, coming up-river from the sea.

Originally this house, built with Regency features and predating most of Cobh's Victorian architectural finery, would have been the centre of the Whitepoint Estate, stretching from the current Cork-Cobh rail line to the strand, in what's a little visited residential backwater off the Lower Road.

According to the vendor's researches, the house was used as a hospital for American naval personnel during the first world war, when Queenstown/Cobh played a central role on a world stage - the town is linked to two of the most famous shipping tragedies, the Titanic and Lusitania sinkings.

It still has strong traces of its maritime past, such as a family room added on by a former ship's captain, utilising part of a wooden mast with original oak shelving.

At some stage in its recent past, Whitepoint was subdivided into two homes, one at ground floor level, one overhead, and the original staircase was removed with separate entrances created.

Its selling agent Liz Hannon of English and Co auctioneers says it would be a relatively simple matter to put it all back into one unit, and seeks €850,000 for the period property with a host of unusual features - such as the arched front entrance, fitted in the 1930s with glass blocks all around the door, back during the first wave of popularity of these glazed wonders.

At present, it has a ground floor property with four bedrooms (one ensuite) fine drawing room with marble fireplace and high, corniced ceilings, kitchen/living room with Aga, larder, study and there's a further three bedrooms, bathroom, sitting room, kitchen and further rooms overhead.

The garden is mature and private, and retains some of the original walled garden sections as well as some very old oak trees.

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