Take me to Church Road in Blackrock

A home in a desirable part of Cork exceeded price expectations last time it sold, and has been upgraded since then, writes Tommy Barker.

Take me to Church Road in Blackrock

A home in a desirable part of Cork exceeded price expectations last time it sold, and has been upgraded since then, writes Tommy Barker.

PICTURES: TED MURPHY
PICTURES: TED MURPHY

IT WAS very, very good the last time, back in 2012 when it last came to market. Now, No 2 Church Road is just as good, and in fact better, than when it sold back then — while the ‘sheen’ of an address in the Blackrock area of Cork has been burnished even more in the interim.

When offered six years ago, No 2 Church Road carried a €220,000 asking price; it made several pages of editorial in this publication, and it turned up on the Price Register by that year’s end as a sale, and a swift one at that, at €280,000.

Back then, its (previous) vendors who did a major overhaul and significant decorative upgrades, had three small children; they wanted to stay in the Blackrock area, but reckoned they needed a fourth bedroom to allow for growing family and visitors.

This time around, today’s vendors (again, a young couple) have two children and are in the fortunate position of having the prospect of a site on family land just a bit west of Cork city upon which to build: they’ll also be near family for babysitting duty, mingling with cousins, and all that other good stuff that seemed, oh, a lifetime away just six years ago.

They were smitten when they bought in ’12, and they pounced quickly, having returned to Cork after travels and work abroad, and they were charmed by the proximity to Blackrock village, the Marina, a host of facilities, and the ease of getting in and out of Cork city.

That was particularly prescient, and now hopefully for them, profitably so too. Since then, Blackrock’s cachet has ratcheted up quite a few notches, all the more after major public realm upgrades by the pier; there’s now a Sunday farmers’ market; cafe culture’s taken a firm grip; Páirc Uí Chaoimh is a perfect match for decades to come, and further public investment is planned for a major park by the Atlantic Pond, a buggy push away.

So, while they feel they may have paid a bit over the odds back in 2016 when No 2 (which they now call The Cottage) went €60k over its asking price in a just-recovering market, it’s likely that what swayed it for them at that time, will work the same spell in summer 2018, as it comes to market once more, guiding €295,000, as a true walk-in job.

The Cottage is for sale with agent Jeremy Murphy, who says it’s deceptive in terms of size, and also scores highly in the quality home stakes. Once people get a feel for what’s on offer, he’s confident it will get competitive bidding and should make over the asking price once more.

It runs to 1,150 sq ft, with a good deep main living room. There’s a study/play room across the hall on the other side and to the back is a full width kitchen/dining room, looking out on a pristine, walled-in back garden with shed, lawn, and stone-paved patio, as neat and tidy as No 2’s interior, and much used for al fresco dining and children’s play.

The back garden of this mid-terraced home (parking is on the road nearby) looks out on the limestone spire of the Church of Ireland’s St Michael’s Church, the origin of the address. The grandfather of modern computing, one George Boole, the 19th century mathematician, progenitor of Boolean algebra and former UCC professor, is buried in the adjoining cemetery, and across the road is the entirely secular St Michael’s lawn tennis and bowling club, while the same saint’s name also applies to the nearby, 1951-founded St Michael’s GAA club and pitches a few hundred yards away along Church Road, towards Skehard Road.

The house right next door, end terraced, is also for sale, with the address given in that instance as 3, Gate Lodge, Church Road, and is priced at €225,000 by estate agent Michael McKenna. It too is a three-bed, two-bath home, with a F BER, but not in bad overall condition.

It’s likely those looking at No 2 will also compare No 3, and vice versa, weighing up the price difference versus what’s been done, what’s been upgraded, what’s needed, and on what suits personal tastes and budgets.

Given the appeal of the location and address, it’s unlikely that having two sales side by side will impact negatively on one another, and may well, in fact, help both.

Since buying No 2 back in 2012, its owners have improved the energy efficiency and lifted it up to a C3 BER, by dint of extra insulation, including slabbing some exposed stone party walls with insulated plasterboard.

There’s a new, snug-fitting front door, and a new multi-fuel stove has been installed on a limestone plinth in the main living room, and is super-effective, the occupants say.

This wood-floored room has kept/gained lots of character, with some exposed stone on an internal wall, there’s a feature rough-hewn ceiling beam, and a stained glass panel, back-lit, for visual effects.

Unusually enough, the first floor has as much charm and appeal as the ground floor level, and is distinguished by a very large, stepped landing, with lots of wall space above the stairs for display of family photos, books, art and memorabilia, while two of the three bedrooms are doubles, under sloping dormer roofs, the third is a small child’s room or study, and the family bathroom’s an updated cracker — well-sized with double ended bath, and shower with recessed shelf/storage.

Auctioneer Jeremy Murphy says The Cottage’s condition is excellent, the location on Church Road can’t be bettered, and the asking price is keen.

VERDICT: Likely to be a swift summer seller all over again.

Church Road, Blackrock, Cork

€295,000

Size: 107 sq m (1,150 sq ft)

Bedroom: 3

Bathrooms: 2

BER: C3

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