Ballintubber Lodge a gem of a property

IS it sexist now to describe Ballintubber Lodge as ‘a Gentleman’s Residence?’ Let an enterprising woman come to the fore, then, and change the auctioneer’s historically redolent description of this country home, newly up for sale.

Ballintubber, or Ballintubrid, is close to the edge of Cork harbour by Carrigtwohill, a 15-minute nip back to Cork city – but is as convenient and quiet a backwater as you’d want.

The 4,700 sq ft Georgian home, with symmetrical wings, a walled garden, pond and 26 acres of good grazing ground amidst old hardwood and deciduous trees, was bought in the 1980s by a retired US merchant fleet seaman, Captain Edward L Wheeler, and now is going to market as part of an executor sale.

It carries a €1.1 million asking price via joint agents Hugh McPhillips of Marshs, and Donal Collins of Global Properties - ho knows the locale well, living locally and valuing the setting.

And what a hidden spot it is. Most Cork people will never have ventured close to this tranquil setting, with access to the inner reaches of Cork harbour above Marlogue and East Ferry, with the water just a few hundred yards away from Ballintubber’s old stone wall boundaries.

Surprisingly, this modest-sized 1800s period home is over-basement, with five high ceilinged basement rooms, and this allows the house to claim up to five bedrooms. At present, there are three first floor bedrooms, plus very large en suite bathroom, with two other bathrooms on stair returns.

Although not lived in for the past few years (bar a self-contained annexe off the sun room on the right) it’s far from a wreck, but it will need spending and conserving to tackle damp and raise comfort levels. Cutting back ground from the outer walls, allowing them to breathe and perhaps let in more basement light, would transform the place.

It has all its essential features, though, some good fireplaces, hefty flagstone floors, shuttered windows, a graceful fan-lit staircase, and there’s an antique Godin stove in one of the rooms, backing up an enormous, Titanic-sized oil burner for the basic central heating system.

In contrast, the kitchen’s Frankin Chef, an enormous modern stove, grill and gas burners, is a serious chef’s delight – you’d feed a workforce from it.

You will have to get a workforce in, at least in the short term to rescue the house from the ravages of time. Basic maintenance work has been done, the gardens have been kept from choking, but it all needs a bit of niceness once more. There’s a pond ready for refilling, and the old stone of a flagged terrace is discernible.

Making it worth the input is its period stature, the acreage, the manageability of the house’s size, the great outbuildings and stables, the location and city proximity. Then, there’s the sheer quality of the landscaping, with chestnut and laurel-lined approach avenue, 150-year-old beech trees, willow, and a wonderful, sheltered walled kitchen garden – used on occasions by Captain Wheeler for patriotic games of baseball. Now, it could as easily take a tennis court, croquet law, or fruit and vegetables.

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