Abbotswood provides a great (loco)motive

400-piece train set packed away, it’s full steam ahead to a new destination for the owners of No 12 Abbotswood, reports Tommy Barker.

Abbotswood provides a great (loco)motive

Rochestown, Cork


Size: 306 sq m (3,300 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 4 + attic

Bathrooms: 5


Are all of their motives loco? Not quite: the family moving from 12 Abbotswood are moving on for all the right reasons...even if it means packing up a set that has more than 400 trains, locomotives, and carriages, two miles of track running on five levels, miniature villages and set pieces galore.

Dismantling the collection that took years to assemble and build has been done in advance of the house move, as it would be just too distracting they reckoned for house viewers, given that the train set took up the entire 1,500 sq ft top floor of this big family home.

It came apart in large sections, or boxes, all moved down through double flap trapdoors to the landing, out the door....and straight to their next home.

The couple, with teenage children and a young mindset between them all, are building another home, on a site that came to them through family hands. It’s hardly a surprise to find out that it, too, was designed to accommodate the enormous sprawl of track and tiny towns and moving trains, all digitally controlled and needing two people to operate properly.

So, the attic in their next home which is nearly completed is going to be even bigger, and needed 20 tonnes of steel to support attic spans as the man(child) of the house didn’t want any columns crossing where his trains are going to run rings around the top floor. He thought of easier access too for re-installation, so his painstakingly-assembled set has already been delivered safely, by a telehandler/mobile crane, in through the roof of the new-built, just before the wide dormer window was fitted.

With the trains all departed, now 12 Abbotswood’s attic level is back literally as a blank canvas, carpeted, tidied and ready to rock and roll for its next owners and occupants. The attic alone has several features windows, one circular, one square and several Veluxes, and the 1,500 sq ft dormer space includes a WC/shower room which they reckon has never had the shower used.

“I look at the space the loo takes up, and think of how much more track I could have had if it wasn’t there,” quips the vendor, almost wistfully.

Thankfully, he’s getting even more space now, but he says of future collections “they have to be self-funding, I have to sell something to buy something else.” Yeah, right. Like, this house.

No 12 Abbotswood goes to the autumn market with a €740,000 guide price quoted by Malcolm Tyrrell of Cohalan Downing, and it’s got 3,300 sq ft over its two lower levels alone, plus the adaptable attic room of 1,500 sq ft.

The top deck is reached by a spiral staircase, while other Abbotswood houses have opted for full and permanent stair access, and carved up the highest level for extra bedrooms/home/office/hobby rooms.

The house next door, No 13 Abbotswood and which had second floor bedrooms and full stair access, has just been sold, having gone to market in February of this year guiding €710,000 with Sherry FitzGerald, and is understood to have made €760,000.

Now, the Sherry Fitz sale board comes down just as Cohalan Downing’s For Sale sign goes up, it’s more than half a year later, and it looks like there’s not a lot of second hand stock coming to the upper end of the Cork market between now and Christmas.

Rochestown’s Rockforest/Into the Future Homes development at Moneygourney has sold out its first phase of 28 large-ish (2,200/2,500 sq ft), new detacheds via Casey & Kingston, at prices from €650,000 to €740,000, with bigger and dearer builds to follow in future phases. In contrast, No 12 Abbotswood is a ready to move into proposition, in fresh condition inside and out, smartly kept and well-finished.

The family of four have been here from day one, since the early 2000s, in this Fleming Construction scheme and say most buyers at the time were given leeway to make alterations to floor plans, so there’s a lot of individuality internally among the 18 Abbotswood builds, and sizes vary a bit too.

When buying here, the family with two children opted to change the first floor layout to enlarge the master suite, so it now has a good-sized bedroom, with corridor linking to a fully-tiled en suite and then on to a very large dressing room, 16’ by 12’, and with shelves and robes space on the two long walls. Separately then, there’s a second bedroom with built-ins and shower room en suite, two further double bedrooms, and main family bathroom. “There’s a feeling of space and quality throughout, and it has been enhanced and improved over the years” notes CDA agent Malcolm Tyrrell, and he highly rates the ground floor layout too of these all-brick facade homes, built to a sort of updated American colonial style.

Most of the entry level at No 12 is floored in polished, solid iroko timber and right of the hall is a triple-aspect, 32’ by 15’ lounge/drawing room, a great size and shape, warmed by a very effective cream stone whose modest size belies its heating ability. This room has double doors to an expanse of decking, overlooking the south and west aspected back garden, surrounded by mature planting and not overlooked.

The Boss

Mid-ships to the front is a home office/study, and across the far side of the hall is a TV room/den, with fireplace, and with a niche collection of Bruce Springsteen memorabilia and limited edition framed posters: another slight indulgence for the Boss?!

The kitchen bosses it too, with dark-hued units by Berloni, Neff, Franke and Zanussi appliances, wine cooler, and off is a utility, plus a dining area in a sun-room extension.

With a brick-paved drive for several cars to its front, No 13’s set up towards the top of Abbotswood, where investment in landscaping by all of the neighbouring home owners has added a lot of maturity, colour and appeal to this scheme. Location is high above Rochestown’s Monastery Road, and there are Cork harbour glimpses too from on high, towards Jacobs Island. Cul de sac Abbotswood tops out just a few houses above No 12, where there’s a wide turning circle and an expanse of shared green area, immaculately kept, with a path leading to a large Coillte forest, with myriad walks, on a green hillside behind.

VERDICT: make tracks to perfect platform.

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