Tommy Barker. 


Stylish Cluain Mara in Kinsale open for viewing

The latest show home at Kinsale’s Cluain Mara may be down in size, but not down in style, says Tommy Barker

Stylish Cluain Mara in Kinsale open for viewing

IT’S a bit of a case of ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, shades of plum, grey and green’ at the newest showhouse at Kinsale’s Cluain Mara development, by the new to the Munster market builders, Centurion Homes.

Linked to Clarendon Properties who’ve been busy snapping up prime Cork development sites in the past 12 months, Centurion Homes launched Cluain Mara in Spring 2016, with the best of the 27 new homes selling at up to €550,000, and the super, showhouse — the 2,450 sq ft No 4 also found a buyer.

That sale means that much of the furniture and finery from the show example, No 4, has just this month found its way down the tidy site to a new show model, at No 10, a smaller type of detached, but still a very decent four-bed of 1,818 sq ft, again done and decked out by interior stylist and print-making artist Niamh MacGowan.

It got a low-key launch last Saturday, via new homes agent Evan O’Toole of Savills, with about 15 parties coming for a look-see, and that’s on top of the c 150 parties who viewed Cluain Mara’s first show unit.

They’ve had 19 sales, and the end is in sight on the project above the town by Bandon Coop store, as they progress work on the scheme of 14 detacheds, eight semis and a terrace of five townhouses.

The first of the buyers are in residence, and by Easter it will be even more lit up. Buyers have included traders up, traders down, relocaters and first time buyers for the 1,500 sq ft semis and 1,200 sq ft townhouses, of which one remained to sell, at €295,000.

Design of the scheme off Farm Lane, within a walk of the town, is by local Kinsale architect, South African-born Richard Rainey, and while the upper floor at the larger homes on offer, the five-bedroomed 2,450 sq ft Type A’s was top notch, with great master suites worthy of the name, here at the next batch of smaller, four-bed detacheds, the 1,818 sq ft Type C, it’s the ground floor that really shines out, thanks to a step-down family room off the kitchen/diner.

This is a fine room, in any family’s book, and great for dining, entertaining and chilling out.

Fitting it out, designer Niamh MacGowan insisted on getting in an extra-size, three metre long antique table, capable of seating 10, and it’s been buffed up and refinished: “you can have the children doing homework at one end, and be working, eating or reading yourself at the other end, and it’s great for parties,” she observes.

Once again at this, her second Cluain Mara show home, the kitchen is by German company Kube who’ve got a Cork store, and its distinctive metallic sheen doors are topped with a marble-style Silestone top.

Off is a utility and the family space down a couple of steps with triple aspect overlooking the back garden and it is big enough to hold two sofas, plus an oak-topped low table/shelf.

Windows are triple-glazed and there’s an air-to-water heat pump, heat recovery system, underfloor heating downstairs and alu-rads upstairs, plus solar tubes for water heating.

Then, visual comfort comes in the form of a cream wood-burning stove in the sunny front sitting/with-drawing room, a very calming space, with wool carpet and artworks on the walls.

Decor-wise, once again paints are from the Colourtrend range, with ceilings in each room painted the same colour as the walls: ‘traditional’ white ceilings are eschewed in the show unit at least, and materials are natural, linen and cottons in the main, with a very bespoke collection of main, occasional, task and feature lights, including a few funky items from

Circulation areas at ground and first floor manage to make the ‘C’ type house seem larger than it is at under 1,820 sq ft, and on the first floor there’s a decent landing, four double bedrooms with one en suite, main bathroom with compact bath, and there’s access to a good-size, sit-out front balcony both from the hall, and from the smaller of the four bedrooms.

There’s also a handy storage space to be shelved out or used for storing bulky items on the landing, next to the main bathroom: might someone want to integrate back in there for a larger bath/shower option, or even use it as a first floor laundry?

Externally, houses are painted smooth render under slate-like roofs, with a pattern of three complementary colours (Colourtrend again) used across the 27 houses being built around a long, rectangular site with internal central landscaped beds, and substantial walking path/play area at the far corner.

Despite the maritime name Cluain Mara, there’s now sea, harbour and bay views to be had as it’s over the hill from the town by the scheme of 1990s dormers known as Mansfield Park, but everything Kinsale has to offer is within a reasonable walk, and the Co-op store is on the doorstep.

Prices officially are ‘POA’ — price on application — but it’s expected the first to be released, No 11 next to showhouse No 10 will be guided at €450,000 and will be the cheapest (unfortunately there’s an ESB pole with stays in the back garden) with another at €485,000 and three tipping over €500,000 via Savills who expect sales to wrap up in the coming months, as Centurion move on to fresh sites elsewhere in Cork city, and county.

VERDICT: Kinsale is almost a market onto itself, with no fewer then three new homes schemes on the go there now.

Cluain Mara, Kinsale

Price: from €450,000

Size: 169 sq m (1,818 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 4

Bathrooms: 3


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