The best of old and new

YOU get ‘all the fruit’ thrown in, at Glebe House Gardens, an upmarket niche townhouse scheme behind the architectural timepiece Emmet Square, in West Cork’s Clonakilty.

An original acre of overgrown gardens behind the restored Glebe House, in the corner of the Georgian square has been tamed, but not compromised, in a new homes scheme being launched this weekend.

The landscaping, preserving the original trees and with later additions, sees apple, pear and plum trees put into communal areas.

Phase one was completed and sold out some 18 months ago, and now after a prolonged passage through the planning appeals process — three years in all — phase two has come out to match, if not best, the first selection.

This second batch has bigger houses, with about an extra 200 sq ft added to make for 1,340 sq ft, with natural slate replacing the zinc roofs of the first courtyard offering, where houses were ranged around an old Arbutus tree.

Going up for sale from today are nine townhouses combining the best of old and new, via Clonakilty estate agent Kieran O’Gorman. Two have already been bought by a local businessman, one for his own use as he is trading down, and at prices of €550,000, this is very much the type of market the agent is aiming for.

“It is like another world in here, it is so private so secure, and so central, there won’t be another site like this ever come up for sale in Clonakilty again,” he says of the Glebe House Gardens. The location is entirely another world, just behind Emmet Square, with old stone walls forming an impregnable boundary and giving a green backdrop for the more recent landscaping and exemplary dry-stone walling is in place around banks of 100-year old hardwood.

There’s private parking kept just across the way from the houses — electronic gates keep them secure — and there’s second pedestrian access via an enhanced private pedestrian lane right back to the heart of Emmet Square. In the few years since Glebe House was restored to its current glories, a few neighbours on the square have also built mews houses to the back, one as tasty as the other.

Developers at Glebe are Bobby and Maria Hilliard of Hillback Ltd, whose earlier Clonakilty projects included the Sand Quay mill building conversion to apartments. Hillback is also aiming to develop Clonakilty GAA’s waterside pitch (see also main story page 1).

The job at Glebe House and its grounds is like a calling card for development quality, and the prices reflect the level of fit-out and finish.

Each of the nine townhouses is being finished out, fully painted, with carpets, tiling, bedroom built-ins and a full kitchen with integrated appliances. Just move in some free-standing furniture and the job is done. Even the landscaping is greened in.

Design is by Geraldine Coughlan of Richard Rainey architects in Kinsale, with assured interior design by Swedish-born Maria Hilliard, and the houses really were laid out for adaptable living and retirement.

The showhouse has two of its three bedrooms upstairs, along with a first floor living room to the front opening to a deep balcony with plenty of room for a couple of seats, a small sofa or a table, and there are great roofscape views of all of Clonakilty’s landmarks — including some church spires.

Downstairs, there’s a good bedroom in the front bay, a cedar-clad protrusion. Across the hall is a big wet room bathroom, with tanked floors, power shower and other accoutrements, which are as useful for wheelchair accessibility as hosing down a football team’s line of forwards.

The kitchens, done by Seamus Walsh of Tower near Blarney, have granite tops, as does the neat breakfast bar. There’s a dining room off which leads in turn to the private rear yard, all of them already landscaped and finished with retaining railway sleepers, and decking by local specialist Aidan Hennessy.

External finishes include natural slate roofs, rough dash painted in a range of coffees and cream, stainless steel architectural trim and railings and hardwood windows and doors (from Munster Joinery) which have been painted inside and out.

Most of the materials are locally sourced, so tiling comes from Whites, lighting from Hegartys, and the paving and printed concrete paths from All Black.

Buyers are expected to be retirees, in the main or traders-down, or those keen on a high-quality living environment, with minimum of maintenance hassle and in one of the best settings, in one of West Cork’s hot-spots.

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