SET right in the heart of horse, hunt, stud-farm, cycling and walking territory is Ballymac House — a modern take on the Georgian design template.
With long views to the Galtees (snow-covered on last week’s visit), and with more immediate views to the Ballyhoura Hills and their acclaimed mountain-biking trails, this 5,000 sq ft home, on eight acres, is a lifestyle buy for those who love the countryside, but don’t want to be too removed.
It’s just over the Cork-Limerick border, near Charleville and the Dublin-Cork rail line, and its nearest village is Effin.
The Effin national school is next door to Ballymac House and its equestrian facilities - so it’s the shortest of school commutes.
The adult owners, meanwhile, have further to travel: with their main business now overseas, they can be at Cork or Shannon airports in 40 minutes.
Their business used to be house building, one-off homes, but as that market declined, they moved into machinery sales, and now are buying and selling in a range of countries, as needed, from Spain to Eastern Europe, as well as Africa and the Far East.
They briefly had Ballymac House for sale a few years ago, priced around €1m, but now it is a more buyer-friendly €750,000, which they note is below the cost of building and finishing to this level.
Selling agent is Dominic Daly, in Cork, who say there’s regional appeal and feels it should also get the attention of overseas/UK buyers, who want a top quality build.
And it is that — it has the feel of a property that will endure the decades and centuries, immensely soundly built, with block-on-flat walls throughout, and a Ducon slab raft at first-floor level.
The centrepiece is the full-height central hall, with rounded internal walls and a curving stairwell up to a galleried landing, where an immense, ornate plaster ceiling rose is poised 22’ above ground-level, primed for a chandelier.
On more grounded matters, the concrete Ducon slab allows for under-floor heating throughout this broad and deep home, powered by a geothermal source for all-day comfort.
Every room’s on a generous scale, with 10’ high ceilings, and just about every room has above-standard cornice and coved plasterwork, centre roses and detail to go with the period theme.
Each of the two main reception rooms has fireplaces of a scale to suit large rooms, and most living spaces have a dual aspect.
Having 5,000 sq ft to play around with meant being able to be creative with the floor plan, especially downstairs, in the centre hall (there’s also an outer hall, with two different, fan-lit doors, one external, one into the scene-setting galleried hall for a touch of Gone with the Wind grandeur).
Other rooms include a games/snooker room, home office, large utility, and dining room, which is two steps below the kitchen, leading to a solid, heat-soaking sun-room, with feature, large picture windows facing south for Ballyhoura views.
Main floors at the lower level are rosewood parquet in a herringbone pattern, with edge border detailing — proud craftwork personified, and not one timber block among the thousands has come loose or left a drying-out gap.
Other good woods featured include the solid, walnut kitchen units, with marble-like worktops in crushed stone also on the island, and appliances are De Dietrich or Miele: they include a steam oven, double oven, coffee-maker and induction hob.
Upstairs are five big bedrooms, and main bathroom with extra-large shower and a free-standing slipper bath (see p1 pic).
The master suite occupies one side of the house, with a foyer, double-aspect bedroom, double-room-sized dressing room with banks of built-ins, and a large en-suite with walk-in shower, and Ballyhoura views from the windows.
Windows? There’s about 55 of them, all-in, and while the owners had considered authentic, new, timber-sash frames to go with the house’s proportions and ethos (it was designed by Jerry O’Connor, Mallow), practicality won out in the end, with sliding sash frames now in pvc, which also turn inwards for easy cleaning.
Other than that, the building has a natural slate roof, and limestone sills and trim around the many, many windows, and doors, with steps also in cut limestone, and it has the look and feel of a home that will age and mellow well over many years to come. Externally, there’s eight acres with three paddocks, internal fencing and paths, a double garage with electric up and over doors, and L-shaped stable block, with six boxes and a tack room, plus barn, concrete yard, and sand arena.
Courses for horses — worth giving a trot out to see for quality finishes and family-friendly amenities alone.