A scenic stroll from village life

A NEW green route walking path, through woods and along the glenside of the Donnybrook stream, will link the house scheme The Vicarage with the very heart of Douglas village in Cork, and, almost coincidentally, make it an easy stroll to the suburban village’s two churches. And schools. And shops, bars and everything else.

Already being put in place, the 1km woodland path will go behind existing houses along Carr’s Hill, and link up with the existing scenic pathway behind the 1990s apartment scheme Cois Coillte, en route to the village. The walkway ends in Douglas near Daily’s shop, St Luke’s NS and the community park.

The Vicarage, being built by Frinailla on Carr’s Hill, is a harbinger of things to come, the development company hopes, as it pins its colours at this location to high-end, low-density housing. It has already completed high-end and high-density apartments in the urban renewal (reinvention, really) scheme City Square, in Blackpool, and is building on a prime site at Dennehy’s Cross, with another site in hand at the Good Shepherd Convent in Sunday’s Well.

The Vicarage is 17 units only, although an associated Frinailla scheme by its entrance has two apartment blocks also advanced in construction, to be launched later this year with Lisneys.

The agents this week publicly kick off sales at this niche scheme, with about one third already taken up by traders-up from varying parts of the city, some of whom have already sold up their own homes. Others are selling to move.

The fact there are just 17 units means sales will be dealt with quickly, and the city has a dearth of good new trading-up schemes after a decade of mass building.

Frinailla’s trump card is that it has 70 acres of land in this valley setting, just zoned for development, and it will roll out development there of trading-up homes mostly over the next few years, subject to its masterplan being approved by Cork City Council.

Future anticipated builds will have the option of a second access point, up close to the overpass on the Slí Carrigdhoun road at Castletreasure, and that Slí is the road that took the heavy Carrigaline traffic off Carr’s Hill almost a decade ago. Showing the rate of infrastructural development, yet another Douglas-Ringaskiddy road is proposed (from the Bloomfield interchange,) in an estimated e150 million investment.

Design of the detached houses is by Richard Rainey architects in Kinsale, and in a nutshell they are a fairly contemporary take on the traditional form and layout, not too radical, but energy efficent, and with a good open spread of living rooms at ground level.

Each has a second-floor bedroom, with either three or four bedrooms at first-floor level depending on house type. Sizes range from just over 2,000sq ft to almost 2,400sq ft, and are priced from e850,000 to e1.1 million.

Interior design is by Wensel Ireland, an offshoot of a Continental European firm, and much of the furnishings have been sourced from Germany, Austria and elswhere so there’s a sense of freshnness about some of the look, such as the high-gloss, red wall storage units in the large A-type showhouse’s lounge.

The fit-out package in the new homes includes dedicated wiring for just about everything — broadband, satellite TV and sound and TV distribution points in every room — a gloss kitchen with integrated appliances, gas insert fireplace in the main living room with 9’ ceilings, a stepped-down family room off the kitchen/dining room (a stove here would be a real focal point either instead or by the obligatory large-screen TV) and sanitary ware provision and tiling is of a very high standard, with wall-hung units and heated towel rails in the four bathrooms (main, two ensuite, and guest loo.)

Other features are passive security system and CCTV over the entrance door (where there’s a rather funny fibreglass porch canopy), underfloor heating at ground level, zoned heating, a jacuzzi bath, laundry/utility appliances, and recessed lighting.

Garden sites are a good enough size, with most space sensibly to the back and with cobble lock drives in front. The 17 houses overlook a green area.

And, best of all, Douglas and its sheer breadth of amenities is a short and generally traffic-free spin away, by Carr’s Hill, or very shortly by green route, shank’s mare.

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