House of the Week: Rushbrooke, Great Island, Cork Harbour

The sale of this home will be music to the ears of dozens of budding musicians — it is forming part of a very generous bequest that could be worth €2m, to the benefit of UCC students, and to UCC’s music department in particular. 

House of the Week: Rushbrooke, Great Island, Cork Harbour

Rushbrooke, Great Island, Cork Harbour - €600,000

Size: 228 sq m (2,450 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 4

Bathrooms: 2


Set on an acre by the tennis club in Rushbrooke near Cobh, Ardnadoon was the family home of Sidney V Regan and his wife Hilda who moved to Cork in the 1960s from London, where Mr Regan had worked successfully as a master builder, first to Glanmire and then to Cobh.

Despite not having Irish roots, the duo took to life in Cobh and Cork with aplomb, and shortly after their arrival they befriended the musicologist, composer, and conductor, Aloys Fleischmann, Professor of Music in UCC from the 1930s to the 1980s. Prof Fleischmann was probably the most influential force in Irish music outside of Dublin in the 20th century, awarded the Freedom of Cork City in 1978, among many other Irish and international acknowledgements.

Sidney Regan was a member of the Commodore Male Voice Choir in Cobh (the choir sings at national level and at local commemorative events, such as recalling the tragedies of the Titanic and Lusitania vessels as well as greeting visiting cruise ships,) and he also headed up the Cobh Gramophone Society, for much of its 43 years of musical appreciation.

After years of friendship and involvement in the cultural life of Cork, and as they had no direct heirs to their estate, the Regans made known in 1977 their intention to leave the bulk of their assets to their friend Prof Fleischmann’s much-loved music department. Prof Fleischmann passed away in 1992, aged in his 80s, and Hilda Regan died in 2009, followed by widower Sidney V Regan in June of 2017, and his estate “has been 99.9% left to charitable causes,” says solicitor Frank O’Flynn of O’Flynn Exhams, who who has known and acted for Sidney Regan for nearly forty years, and who was entrusted to be be a joint executor with well-known Cork retired accountant T. Niall Welch of Mr Regan’s estate and last will.

The estate includes his private residence, Ardnadoon, which is now for sale with a price guide of €600,000 thanks to some development scope, and a half dozen or so investment properties rented out for income: the couple lived frugally and Mr Regan’s choice of mode of transport was bicycle and train. The will leaves €200,000 to four charities — €50,000 each to COPE Foundation, Marymount Hospice, the Cork Deaf Association, and The National Council for the Blind.

All other benefits accrue to UCC’s expanded Music and Theatre Department, with the bulk of Mr Regan’s estate continuing as rental properties to provide an income stream for scholarships and the training of young musicians, especially in strings and piano. The exact process and channels for support were not clarified this week by UCC, who’ve accepted a portrait for framing of their generous benefactor.

Meanwhile, Ardnadoon has gone on the market via Cobh estate agent Johanna Murphy, who describes Mr Regan, who’d been a client for nearly 15 years, as loyal, and a gentleman to his core. It’s a four-bed, one en-suite 20th century home of c 2,500 sq ft, and Ms Murphy says it’s well built, and appears sound, but needs refurbishment. And, as it’s on an acre in such a great setting, it may also have development potential.

A number of old trees on the grounds were recently removed for safety’s sake (presciently so, given the visit of ex-Hurricane Ophelia to Irish shores this week) and it could hold four detached houses, or perhaps six semis, or a mix of new builds and an upgraded Ardnadoon, depending on a buyer’s wish. It’s under a strong offer, it’s understood.

“It’s a nice house and one that offers plenty of potential so this property may interest the person who is a garden enthusiast and interior designer or indeed the investor.

“Once upon a time the garden was in great shape, so could be again,” says Johanna Murphy adding “as location is vital when selling and buying a house, Ardnadoon definitely ticks all the boxes being close to the tennis club, schools, the train station and a walk to shops.”

VERDICT: Strikes a lovely chord.

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