No need to hedge your bets on high class hidden gem

Auckland it ain’t but Tommy Barker finds a peach named after a beach in a lofty location in Ireland’s southern hemisphere

No need to hedge your bets on high class hidden gem

Typical Cork, isn’t it? Possibly the very best views in all of the city and valley are from a lofty perch, hundreds of feet up above sea level — and the house is called after a sandy beach on the other side of the world, in New Zealand.

With a name like Takapuna, you’d have to ask where a house got its name. Well, the owners of this place for the last 40 years had rented a house with that name when they got wed, nearly 50 years ago, and asked the landlord if they could take it with them when they moved on — a cheap, but happy, version of saying Takapuna is where they honeymooned, without having to actually go to Auckland in the southern hemisphere to make it any truer.

While New Zealand’s Takapuna is on the sunny, north shore of North Island, its Irish counterpart is also oriented towards the sun, and when it shines you’d know it — the city, river glimpses and buildings shimmer in the glow below its feet like a tightly woven Cork carpet.

This Takepuna is in lofty Shanakiel, just above Sunday’s Well, with Shanakiel Court and Rope Walk avenue behind, and with close to half an acre of gardens in front, sloping down to a former tennis court in front. The word ‘manicured’ is too casual for the care lavished here in terms of the landscaping, so roll on spring and summer glories for good-life basking out among the palms.

A bit of a local exotic hideaway with its grounds, sun terraces, and massive views, Takapuna is new to market with agent Brian Olden of Cohalan Downing, who guides the 2,400 sq ft period-era home with pitch-perfect aspect at €595,000 and he reckons “it’s got the best view of any house I’ve ever got to sell in Cork, they’d be hard to beat — and they’re as good, if not better, at night than by day.”

This Shanakiel site is directly across the Lee valley from the Bon Secours hospital and UCC, Fitzgerald’s park is tucked underneath, the old City Gaol tourist attraction is a few hundred yards to the east across Strawberry Hill, and the distant views go over again to the city, towards Blackrock, and on out to Great Island/Cobh. Crane your neck out the bedrooms, or hop out on the roof/balcony, and you can see up the river towards the Lee Fields. The pleasing to the eye site is sloping and terraced, with a former tennis court in the lower ground now covered with gravel, and it’s bisected by a drive up from the cul-de-sac The Grove, with sliding electric gates at the lower section.

Takapuna is to the very back of its site, so all its finery is sensibly in front and in full, sunny view, and the house appears to have been built in two sections, possibly a century or two ago, but is hard to date as it’s been so well kept inside.

It’s effectively wide and shallow, with all of its main rooms to the fore for light and view, with a bifurcated stairs to the back wall, running east to the master suite with big bedroom, en suite bathroom and walk-in wardrobe, and to the western side, up a matching set of steps, are three more bedrooms, one also en suite, and main family bathroom.

Comfort levels are high, with sun aspect adding free solar gain ‘fuel’ to the three gas-insert fireplaces, all rooms have double glazing and there’s lots of storage niches as well, such as pantry off the kitchen, and a mini-bar hidden off the 24’ by 14’ main lounge with its two windows, one of them a deep bay.

Other rooms include a family/TV room to the front with fireplace, a formal dining room, and a breakfast room by an absolute morning sun-trap terrace, with the kitchen three steps up at the house’s western gable. This latter space has hand-painted units, terracotta tiled floor, warm-hued parana pine ceilings, and a gas fireplace — it’s the true hub of this family home.

As Takapuna comes up for sale for the first time in decades, it’s got all the hallmarks of a cherished family home (it easily accommodated five children) primed to reprise that role all over again, clearly well maintained and upgraded, inside and out.

The aloof setting’s very private and tranquil, and on a sunny day, its myriad of sitting out spots among palm trees could indeed convey the impression of being on a Mediterranean, or antipodean hillside. It’s special.

VERDICT: Top of the world to you.

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