But, well-heeled private house buyers are now being courted too.
Dating to the late 1700s, previously called Tarkfield, and once owned by golf legend Jimmy Bruen, Castlemahon, now on 1.75 acres, has been a private nursing home for 21 years, but has now been put up for sale with an open-ended future.
Estate agent Anthony O’Regan of Keane, Mahony Smith has the sale, and while there’s an acre or so of the land with the house with development potential, the house can be bought on less land (c 0.75 of an acre) if required.
The recent sale of Rosenheim, a run-down period Georgian villa at the city end of the Blackrock Road for €2.7 million at auction with Marshs last month, has shown how strong demand for the uppermost level of the Cork residential market is, especially as Rosenheim will swallow loads more cash, needing extension, modernisation or something more radical as it is already short of period features and home comforts: location was the key driving the exception auction result.
Castlemahon is at the far end of Blackrock village, but the address is hardly any less desireable, and some of the most distinguished city homes are along this stretch of road wending around to Mahon.
Dating to 1798, and owned by generations of the Chatterton family, it was also owned in the mid 1900s by Irish golfer Jimmy Bruen, winner of the British Open back in the 1940s. It was, in fact, given to him as a wedding present by his parents, so the trend of parents giving their offspring a substantial dig-out in the property market isn’t a wholly new phenomenon.
It only left private residential usage in 1985 when bought by Maura Whelan and her husband Kevin who ran a 16-room nursing home up until last month.
In good overall shape, it is a two-storey over semi-basment house, with side extension, totalling over 5,500 sq ft which accommodated 24 residents. An outdoor swimming pool and tennis court have been little used.
The 1.75 acres Castlemahon is on “has obvious potential for residential development, and is laid out in such a way that it is possible to dispose of the house and lands separately,” says KMS’s Anthony O’Regan, who says there have been four or five development-based inquiries so far.
He expects up to €5 million to come from the combined sale, but the c one acre with development scope will make up the bulk of that: the house, on 0.75 of an acre and which can have independent access, is valued at about €2 million.
Other lands around Castlemahon were developed in the late 1990s and early 2000s by O’Brien and O’Flynn, a mix of mid and upper market homes, with an overall low-density, called Sandy Lawn and Gate Lodge.
Originally known as Tarkfield, it was owned by Sir James Chatterton, 1st Baronet and keeper of the State Papers in Ireland for whom the Rose Window in St Fin Barre’s Cathedral was placed, while a tablet in the church recalls his memory.