Home on the hill

THE railway never reached up the Glounthane hill to Kilcoolishal, or the fine family home Glean Alainn, but bits of it now grace this house and grounds.

Old stone from the original walls at Kent Station, Cork, has been integrated in its sloping grounds and terraces, and even its stout entrance gates have a railway station bridge-crossing link.

The glen-side home, with a stream at its boundary, was built 15 years ago by Philip and Molly Mullally, and is a bustling 5,400 sq ft home with six scattered bedrooms for their then-growing family.

It was designed by the late Philip Mullally, an engineer, former director of contracting firm Bowen Mullally, environmental campaigner and one-time national chairman of An Taisce.

An astute businessman, he bought the hillside farm at Kilcoolishal, just above Glounthane east of Cork city, and developed house sites, each facing south over the Lee and Cork harbour he had campaigned to preserve. He sold the balance of the farm to an underbidder, and kept land around his own home as a privacy belt.

Glean Alainn, now too big for family needs, is new to the market offered on 0.9 of an acre this weekend with estate agent Hugh McPhillips of Marshs, who seeks €1.2 million. Despite its 1980s/1990s design provenance, he says it continues a 200- and even 300-year-old Cork tradition of Cork merchants and business people building large homes and villas on the hills north of the river, heading east from the city, placed for river views, sunlight, and for prospect.

Stoutly built (the reassuring hand of an engineer can be seen throughout) it is a big home, essentially spilt level and set over a range of levels which add to its appeal.

Four of the bedrooms are off to one side, near a 600 sq ft upper level play room big enough for table tennis and snooker, or pool, and the assortment of staircases and almost secret passages scattered throughout make it a prime spot for playing games.

The house has three reception rooms, and four bathrooms, and quirkiness in spades, with some high ceilings, mezzanine offices and the like, with quality hardwoods used in abundance.

While clearly well-built, it needs some modernisation and probably bathroom and kitchen upgrades.

Other features include parquet flooring, stone fireplaces, kitchen Stanley range for helping out the heating, and good circulation areas, lots of storage, and a huge multi-use integrated garage.

There are glimpses of river views from inside and out (cutting down or trimming trees would improve this), and the terraced stone tiers and patios and sheltered nooks, loving laid out, are a real feature of Glounthane’s Gleann Alainn.

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