THERE are century-plus mature trees, including towering evergreen oaks, surrounding the special and well-tended grounds at Derreen, a Glanmire spot long associated with the Dwyer family, of Cork textile industry and ‘Sunbeam’ renown.
Former Sunbeam MD Declan and Dorothy (Dodo) Dwyer, who built comfortable Derreen, previously lived in the adjoining period home Glenkeen after they married in 1937: they designed this more modern bungalow to trade down to in the mid 1970s, having seen the Sunbeam Wolsey Group grow to 4,500 employes, with 2,000 in Milfield’s ‘Sunbeam’
Back then, the gothic-style, late 1700s Glenkeen House was on 17 acres, and Derreen got to take about 10% of that landbank along the long approach avenue to Glenkeen for full-screening privacy.
Mrs ‘Dodo’ Dwyer passed away last year, ending a 79 year link with this warm hillside, privately set along Church Hill above Cork’s Glanmire.
Now an executor family sale, Derreen is fresh to market this week with agents Catherine McAuliffe and Michael O’Donovan of Savills, who describe its 1.6 acre grounds as stunning, with a south-east aspect, set by springy, well-fed and weeded lawns and fringed all around by a range of old hardwood trees, a stand of evergreen oak, some pines, flowering shrubs, rhododendron and more.
It’s guided at €675,000, and is reached off a short, discrete shared access with low stone avenue walls off Church Hill, as the hill’s gradient eases off as it approches the Crawford Wood development behind the back corner of its grounds.
It may, in fact, have development scope for one other house, subject to planning.
Whether or not to carve up Derreen’s best asset that is so much garden will be a decision for new owners; some may merely like the prospect of a possible site for retirement of family members to build on, in time.
The existing 2,500 sq ft four-bed home has the best of its space all at ground level, ’though there are two attic rooms reached off a quite steep permanent stairs holding the prospect of an additional and easily-colonised 250 sq ft extra.
Although comfortable and well-kept, the c 40 year old Derreen is now on the dated side, and has its living/reception/day rooms to one end, and its bedrooms at the other, off past a mid-ships dual access entrance hall and lobby, with several of the rooms including a very fine linked, formal living room and dining room overlooking a large sun terrace.
Also off the hall are store rooms, large utility, boiler room, cloak room, and a closet set up as a wine cellar/dispense bar.
At the far end of the house is a spacious master bedroom with bay window seat, walk-in wardrobe, dressing room or nursery, and en suite shower room.
Both bathrooms have now-old fashioned mosaic tiling, and will need to be updated, and the curent kitchen too is quite basic, so new owners will be factoring in the sort of modernising extra spend that’s usual in taking on properties which are more than a decade or two old.
Best room, no doubt, is the large double aspect lounge/dining room and music room, down a few steps from the hall, meaning it gets a bit of extra ceiling height, and it has a broad timber fire surround, with open brick hearth.
There’s garden/terrace access from a lobby via double doors, but even on a cursory visit to Derreen, the inclination is to find lots more ways of providing even more expansive glazing and garden access points: there’s so much glory in the setting, and yet the house appears more inward looking than it deserves.
For gardeners and family sport storage needs, there’s a good quality double garage of c 620 sq ft creating a part-courtyard screen by the front entrance, draped in wisteria, and it has electric roller shutter doors, plus there’s a practical work room/garden room for lawnmower, tools, etc.
Space for a family to roam around and enjoy is Derreen’s strong sales suit, and there are glimpses of views of the waters of Cork harbour through the trees.
Just out of sight is the original Georgian home Glenkeen, sold by the Dwyer family when ‘trading down’ to Derreeen in the 1970s, and which went back up for sale on 3.5 acres a decade ago for its banker owners, complete with a swimming pool and a tennis court, guiding at €4 million.
Just as Glenkeen yielded up its original 17 acres for sites and new-builds, might its personable ‘offspring’ Derreen do the same, with site scope on its still-generous 1.6 acres?
Sunbeams in the setting.