VIDEO: Modern take on an old classic at  Monkstown

This new-build inspired by a former lodge on the site has some very unlodge-like features, writes Tommy Barker.
VIDEO: Modern take on an old classic at  Monkstown

The original period Monkstown house Parkgarriff burned down in the 1950s, but its name is still recalled at the subsequent replacement building on its once great estate grounds: it’s now Monkstown Golf Club’s clubhouse.

And, the name ‘Parkgarriff’ crops up again here at Parkgarriff Lodge, which comes to market this month. It too is a modern structure, difficult at first glance to accurately date, but it was built only in the last decade or so.

This one-off, on private wooded grounds of a quarter acre by a stream fringing the old Parkgarriff estate (by the golf club’s 10th tee,) is a bigger and better version of the original Parkgarrif Lodge which once served as the entrance point to Parkgarriff, which was home to generations of the land-owning Cagney family.

That period house Parkgarriff was where one of Ireland’s greatest concert pianists, the late Charles Edgeworth Cagney Lynch was born, back in 1906. After an international career, Lynch later taught at UCC and gave masterclasses in the Cork School of Music, and died in 1984. The great Sir Arthur Bax described Charles Lynch as “Ireland’s most imaginative pianist”.

A bit of imagination has gone into creating this modern take on the classic, cross-shaped lodge too, and its architect Denis O’Donovan in Skibbereen has filled part of its interior with most un-lodge like curved interior walls, and also hung terracotta tiles off some of its gables, Castlehaven-lodge style.

Skilled West Cork masons also made the trip up to Cork Harbour and Monkstown to do some of this house’s exterior walls in dry-stone style: little expense was spared at the time of its recreation.

Listed with Sherry FitzGerald estate agent Sheila O’Flynn, Parkgarriff Lodge is guided at €485,000, and is very much a comfortable one-off, on private and secure grounds, up the steep Glen Road from Monkstown’s Sand Quay and harbour’s edge. The stream running to the back and beneath this lodge’s boundary cascades down the Glen Road, from rich pastureland above Rochestown, to the sea, in an attractive slice of local topography.

This quietly eye-engaging build, glimpsed over its high boundary walls and electric access gates, is one of three detached houses in a row by the old Parkgarriff estate entrance, and is one of two modern builds here: just one’s original to earlier centuries.

The last Parkgarriff Lodge was owned in the 1990s by the legendary, and late, sportswriter Val Dorgan, a former European Journalist of the Year who wrote as fluently and passionately on topics spanning current affairs, politics and sport for this paper, and was the biographer of fellow Glen Rovers hurling great Christy Ring. The house’s proximity to the parkland golf course behind was much- appreciated by Dorgan, an adept hurler, squash player and golfer in his day.

Val Dorgan built anew in the old lodge’s side garden, and sold the original lodge to its current owners, who surveyed all options — and then opted to knock and build from scratch.

It’s in a lovely sylvan setting surrounded by century-old deciduous trees. There’s plenty of road and stream frontage, easy car parking, and quality landscaping— plus privacy.

It’s a mile or less to Monkstown, a short spin to Carrigaline, and Rochestown is a five-minute drive over the hill, via the Monastery Road. The nearby Demesne of Monkstown Castle makes for a lovely walk, amid the several dozen up-market homes slotted in among the broadleaf trees, recalling a 19th-century description of the demesne and glen as “bosomed deep in tufted trees”.

Inside Parkgarrif Lodge, all is serene, with the stream just audible when the double-glazed windows are open. At ground level, there’s a hall with interior walls curving around a guest WC in one direction, and the main living room on the other side.

The hall’s floor is recently redone in narrow strip oak, a paler contrast to the dark reclaimed pitch pine of the den (with small, open cast iron fireplace), and overhead light comes down from an apex roof ridge run of glass along the house’s main spine, bathing the landing above in light.

The main living area has a double aspect and bay window, is cosy and quite large. A distinctive design feature is the way the chimney breast stands out in the back portion of the room, creating a library/reading space to its side and back (see pic above, left).

The kitchen is also dual aspect, has painted units, topped with varnished hardwood counters, there’s a ceramic sink, useful island with painted units, and there’s access to the gardens here and from the adjacent utility room.

Upstairs are three bedrooms under characterful sloping ceilings, all are well decorated and the master bedroom has a walk-through dressing room/closet leading to an en suite with spa bath, and the main bathroom has a power shower.

Agents Sheila O’Flynn and Ann O’Mahony of Sherry FitzGerald suggest that the likely target market for its level of quality and finish, in a modest-sized and easily-kept package, includes the better heeled starters-out, those working in the harbour’s pharma business, and older buyers trading down from big family homes.

VERDICT: Lifestyle lodge by a golf course and harbour amenities

Monkstown, Cork Harbour


Bedrooms: 3

Bathrooms: 3


Best Feature: New home, historic site

More in this section

Lunchtime News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up

Our Covid-free newsletter brings together some of the best bits from, as chosen by our editor, direct to your inbox every Monday.

Sign up