Watch: 250-year-old home on the Lee Road is full of character

It needs some work but this much-loved 250-year-old home is full of character, writes Tommy Barker.

Watch: 250-year-old home on the Lee Road is full of character

It needs some work but this much-loved 250-year-old home is full of character, writes Tommy Barker.

PERIOD ‘Big House’ credentials, interior finery, south-facing sunny aspect, 13 acres of grounds with folly, outbuildings and lodge, and river Lee frontage — there’s a whole lot of special property at Millboro.

Then, throw in the fact this house is just three miles from Cork city centre, and a healthy walk on the flat to UCC and major hospitals, and it becomes all the more beguiling.

Want more? Throw in a price drop of €200,000, from a 2016 price guide of €1.1 million to now rest at an even more tempting €900,000 (the sort of price many suburban houses along the Model Farm Road across the river can sell for) and Millboro should be jumping back to the top of home and estate hunters’ radars around Munster, and from further afield.

The detached Georgian home, tucked in below a rise in the Lee Road west of the city and facing the Lee Fields (where Cork City Council is buying a tract of farmland by Inchigaggin Lane for future amenity use) dates to 1765.

Dr Don, aka Dickie Bow, paid £2,900 for it at a Marshs auction 65 years ago, and spent years filling it with appropriate furniture finds, and panelling many of its walls with expensive timbers salvaged from ships, including one of the Innisfallens, and the SS Kenmare. Now, Marshs once more have the sale for the current generation of the Coleman family: agent Hugh McPhillips says it’s one of the most genuine homes around, with considerable further potential.

Mr McPhillips’ Spring 2018 price drop of €200k will come in handy, though, because the five-bay 4,800 sq ft 250-year old home (plus 2,000 sq ft annex) needs work now and updating.

The grounds have heaps and heaps of potential, an absolute paradise (orchard, former tennis court, fishing and grazing) for free-range family rearing, what with mature trees, and a shingle beach on the Lee’s banks.

Back in the 1790s, the Fitton family had iron and flour mills here at Millboro (it’s also spelled Millborough), and both house and grounds wear their many years, centuries even, with some ease and entitlement, and thankfully, the house remained untouched by the great Lee flood of 2009 which had such an impact further down into the heart of the city.

Reckoned to be one of 12 ‘great houses’ in this Lee/city catchment, always a prized address and aspect, Marshs’ previous auction ad for Millboro House, back in 1953, billed it thus: “the residence, of moderate size, stands in well-sheltered surroundings, planted with ornamental shrubs, rhododendron and magnolia tree”, and then lists many out-offices, including stables, a car shed, a lodge, a calf house and ‘a man’s room’.

Those rooms are pretty much all there still, only under different names, and in various states of repair, having slumbered gently during the decades of anaesthetist ownership.

VERDICT: There’s a magic to Millboro, but you’ll have to inject a bit more time, effort and cash to maximise this special Cork property’s potential to be a paradise estate, within a stroll of a city.

Lee Road, Cork

€900,000

Size: 4,800 sq ft +2,000 sq ft annex on 13 acres

Bedrooms: 6+

Bathrooms: 4+

BER: N/A

Best Feature: setting and history

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