House of the Week: Ballintemple, Cork, €725,000

YOU don’t need to get yourself to a nunnery, in the ‘hamlet’ village of Cork’s Ballintemple, a spot where a rare house sale has come along, right on the doorstep of the Ardfoyle Convent campus.
House of the Week: Ballintemple, Cork, €725,000

Rare as anything are house resales along genteel Ardfoyle Avenue and the even grander Edwardian types on Ardfoyle Crescent: they are ‘for keeps’, and generally get passed down along family hands.

Now, into this rarefied echelon sails the detached four-bed home Coolscart, very original and true to its 1930s roots, and although it carries an asking price of €725,000 in its basic state, and will need lots of updating, it’s set to have quite a posse in pursuit.

When all’s done to this detached property, with its spot-on west-facing back garden, it’s likely a total budget will be heading towards €1 million, but that’s for a home for life, for some fortunate and well-heeled buyer.

The fact it hasn’t actually had a whole lot done to it down the years probably is no bad thing, as it means a thorough, all-in sweep through can be done to it for its next family of owners who are going to covet it for location and even more for its special setting, its charm, and its scope.

Coolscart looks east past a century-plus old beech tree on its boundary to the entrance and the acres of grounds of the OLA (Our Lady of Apostles) Convent, where a missionary religious order has now clustered buildings and a chapel around an early 1800s ‘country’ house.

The undeveloped nature of the convent grounds means very long views to the east, from Coolscart’s two best, front bedrooms and their bay windows, and this property’s own front gardens have that signal beech tree, newer beech hedging, camellias, a large magnolia and other flowering shrubs and trees.

Views to the back are equally long, unobstructed over gardens as far as Lindville, a quarter mile away.

This double-fronted Ardfoyle Avenue house, and its attached garage on the right, occupies most of the width of this c one-fifth acre site with central drive, and behind the rear aspect is full-on westerly, slightly wedge-shaped private rear garden with old apple trees.

There’s hardly any overlooking of the back as the houses directly behind on Ardfoyle Crescent are bungalows: for those of a mind to extend, it’s all here, waiting... only subject to planning.

Noting the absolute rarity of house sales in this stretch of old Ballintemple, estate agent Malcolm Tyrrell of Cohalan Downing guides Coolscart at €725,000 and says there are very many attractive internal feature to preserve, and good bone of a well-built house of character to work with.

The quoted 1,720 sq ft measurement includes the garage and covered rear portion which integrates an old, WC, so there’s more like 1,600 sq ft of proper residential build, and it includes a pleasant central hall past a tiled arched porch and Edwardian-style front door.

There are good reception rooms with fireplaces, left and right, with wooden floors.

The room to the left is double aspect and very bright with a large, clear side wall window facing south and to a neighbour’s side wall.

Unusually, this room’s fireplace is on the back wall, with slender steel-framed window either side of the chimney breast, a lay-out repeated in the bedroom directly above.

The hall’s carpeted, but may have the same terrazzo floor that is in the rear galley kitchen, a very basic and simple room with pantry understairs, and with rear yard access.

Joinery is good, as per the doors, architraves, picture rails, stairs, newels and banisters, and more, while overhead two of the four bedrooms off a bright landing have fireplaces.

The ‘old-school’ bathroom has a shower attachment over the original, long cast iron bath, with cast iron side panels, and the separate WC alongside has a large cistern with the proud brand name, ‘The Illustor.’

Moving on, and at a minimum, Coolscart now needs rewiring, replumbing (but, don’t throw the bath and cistern out with the waste water), insulating, reglazing, and heating/energy upgrades, and is 99% likely to be extended to the back and the evening sun.

It’s just a matter of how grand you want to go, and how much do you want to spend.

VERDICT: Nun so fine.

Ballintemple, Cork


Size: 1,720 sq ft

Bedrooms: 4

Bathrooms: 1

Best Feature: Location and originality

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