Some houses have statues of eagles perched on top of pillars, setting a certain sort of tone at their entrances. However, for many years Garthlea, on Cork’s Douglas Road, had real, live, lay-about Labrador retrievers on notional guard duty for its owner, a woman who did the interior design and furnishings at Ashford Castle, and Waterville Lake Hotel in the 1960s and 1970s.
This detached home, practically hidden behind high walls between the Bellair estate and the Cross Douglas Road, was home in recent decades to Mrs Eva Andrews, nee Mulcahy, a woman of considerable Irish business and political pedigree — born into the Mulcahy clan of hotel lore, and married into the Andrews family of political dynasty.
Mrs Andrews’ several generations of guardian black and golden Labradors became a familiar sight to walkers, joggers and passers-by, as they hogged the pavement all day long on this main stretch of road between Cork city, and Douglas village. Now, after 30 years of occupation, Garthlea comes to market for an autumn sale as she moves to live with family, and leaves behind a sort of architectural timepiece, complete with (old) stairs carpet which was matched with those in Ashford Castle.
Born Eva Mulcahy, she’s a niece of noted Irish-American hotelier John A “Jack” Mulcahy who developed Ashford Castle and Waterville as top Irish hotels over 50 years ago, and she married another hotelier Christopher Andrews. Her father-in-law was CS “Todd” Andrews, a leading figure in early Fianna Fáil and a government minister. Family links extend now to former TDs Niall and David Andrews, comedian Dave McSavage, and she’s also an aunt to broadcaster and author Ryan Tubridy.
Tragically widowed while pregnant in 1972 when Christopher Andrews died in a car accident, Mrs Andrews worked on a number of stellar Irish hotels for John A Mulcahy, as well as on the Hanratty Hotel and the Danny Man in Killarney.
In 1984, she made a house move, with her three young children, to live in Cork. With an eye for the unusual, she fell for the charms of the 1905 Arts and Crafts-style home, Garthlea, one of handful of houses built along the main Douglas Road fronting the acres of gardens of a large home, called Villa Nova.
Much of that original charm and architectural detailing still remains internally, as the house has not been hugely altered or upgraded, save for the installation of some replacement windows, and central heating.
With arts and crafts Tudor touches like timbered gables, it has a six-sided entrance hall with display cabinet, a rear kitchen with very unusual cast iron range cooker with tiled doors integrated into a central chimney, and it has some fine joinery and slender doors with original, ornate oval brass handles.
The front of the house has two fine-sized interlinked reception rooms, one with alcove and each with tiled fireplaces, and there’s a rear hall back to the old-world kitchen, a back hall, and an accommodating ground floor bedroom with en suite WC and shower room.
An attractive hardwood, carpeted stairs leads up to a wide landing with hot press and separate closet, and to three more bedrooms, and there’s a very appealing, old-world bathroom with wood-panelled sloped ceilings, and a cast iron bath.
It’s all delightfully old-fashioned, but clearly needs TLC, insulating and more spending to suit a new family of occupants. Garthlea is set towards the back of its site, so there’s less of a garden, more of a yard behind, with outside WC, shed and outline of an old glasshouse to recreate, or integrate/extend into.
Joint selling agents are Johanna Murphy and Son quote an asking price of €650,000, open to offers after viewings.