ALL shipshape and Bristol fashion inside and out, this very large family home, has great gardens and an equestrian set-up — and the owners have military bearings.
Threadneedle House is quite the lifestyle package for southern families, just on the edge of Cork City, and is being sold because the couple (from Galway and Rosslare) who built it have grown children working abroad, and they have other places beckoning for themselves in sunny Alicante and Rosslare.
Despite the fact the man of the house has just taken early retirement from the army, it isn’t all feet up by the poolside, especially as the woman of the house is keeping her job, but she can do it with two laptops, and high-speed broadband, from Spain to her Cork employer.
There’s a lifestyle shift afoot while they’re young enough to be able to adapt, and their two adult children will visit them from London and Canada, and the grandparents of the family have been living in Alicante for the past 20 years: it’s a voluntary side of the Irish diaspora and “you wouldn’t believe the number of red shirts in the bars when there’s a Munster match on,” say the couple, as they up sticks.
They built Threadneedle House back in the late 1990s as well-heeled Cork buyers gravitated towards Moneygourney, near Garryduff in Rochestown.
They had bought one of the larger sites, five acres, and built a three-storey, 3,800 sq ft house with ideas they’d seen and liked in places as diverse as Galway (Threadneedle Road and Taylor’s Hill is sort of Galway/Salthill’s Rochestown equivant) and Spain, and the twin balconies, front and back, were a ‘look’ imported from sunny climes, they say.
The red-brick, Georgian-style house is in the middle of the front, hugely landscaped acre, and the drive curves around to the left to the 40m by 30m sand arena, the eight stables, tack and store rooms in a U-shape, and beyond again are four paddocks with jumps and grazing — it’s a serious, enthusiast’s set-up, approved of by horses and owners alike.
Selling agent for Threadneedle is Barry Smith, of Rose Property Services, in Douglas, and the price quoted is €1.3m.
Mr Smith says “it’s a very rare package, such a good house on so much ground, superbly set up for horses. It’s so good, you could run an equestrian business or livery from it if you wanted.”
This area is prime for people who are into sports and the outdoors: just down the road is Garryduff sports centre for hockey, soccer and pitch-and-putt, Garrydff woods are nearby for walks, Douglas golf club is just down Maryborough Hill, and there are sports grounds for soccer and rugby along the roadway here, with a bus route 200 yards away.
At the risk of stating the obvious, the property was laid out with military precision: the grounds’ mature and specimen trees are spot-lit, and there are 26 outdoor lighting circuits in all, as well as water-supply points, power points, and masses and masses of colourful shrubs, fruit trees and plants.
It must be all the horse manure gets them blooming so rudely.
You can see the pay-off for all the work that went into getting it so right outside, and it isn’t just down to time off: “I used to get up at 5 am and work for three hours, before going to work for a bit of a break,” says the retired army senior.
Inside, the house doesn’t disappoint either, with large, high-ceilinged rooms off the central hall with an immense crafted oak staircase by Cecil Whitford, who mixed the oak with a discrete section of walnut for a real one-off statement piece.
A second, spiral, stairs also in oak, wends its way to the vast 38’ by 20’ attic room, lit by 11 Velux window and big enough for an entire class of schoolmates to bed down in.
The middle floor houses four en-suite bedrooms, at all of the corners, so most have a double aspect, and flooring upstairs is all in maple, laid over a Ducon concrete slab.
The family bathroom at this level has a Jacuzzi corner bath, and the walk-in hot press has a laundry chute to whoosh bed linen down to the utility below (the couple had run a city guesthouse before moving uphill and out to Moneygourney.)
The ground floor has high ceilings and ornate plasterwork, Chinese oak floors (the same as some of Michael Flatley’s Castlehyde, apparently) and the dining room is super-bright thanks to tall windows, opening to a paved sun terrace with huge circular rose bed.
(Speaking of beds, there was so much forethought here, there’s even a lit niche under the stairs for a Christmas crib. Wise man, or what?)
VERDICT: Quality materials, plants, workmanship and specification throughout — the vendors have put the money into Moneygourney.