St Luke’s: Going up in the world with a much-loved €245k home

This urban suburb on Cork’s north side is on the way back up; so too is this much-loved home, writes Tommy Barker

St Luke’s: Going up in the world with a much-loved €245k home

This urban suburb on Cork’s north side is on the way back up; so too is this much-loved home, writes Tommy Barker

Ballyhooley Road, St. Luke’s, Cork - €245,000

  • Size: 108 sq m (1,100 sq ft)
  • Bedrooms: 3/4
  • Bathrooms: 2
  • BER: C3

THE community feel and vibe is getting stronger, and stronger, in and around Cork city’s St Luke’s Cross district, as the suburb with 19th and 20th century roots undergoes a 21st century renaissance.

St Luke’s glory days of affluence were probably back in the mid- to late-1800s, when the military barracks was a major employer and economic force, under British rule. Much of the vicinity’s good, Victorian homes stock was built on the back of the barracks, and its hierarchical layers of officers and their families, and provisioners.

It’s probably fair to say a decline came in the mid-1900s, when private families hung out stoically against the onslaught of flatland: now, that splitting up of large homes with roots going back a century and more, into smaller rentals is being reversed, over the past 20 years of so of ‘regentrification.’

The owners of No 6 Mount View Terrace, half way between St Luke’s Cross and Dillons Cross, bought on the cusp of such change, nearly 20 years ago, in the late 1990s when the market was starting to gather momentum, but a few years before ‘the madness’ of wholesale building, in unlikely and far-flung commuter locations stranded out ‘in the sticks’ and with rampant price inflation too.

A couple with varied backgrounds in project management (with Boston Scientific) and in Cork’s burgeoning arts sector, and committed for decades to the ease and promise of city living, and enthusiastic advocates for the concept and reality of urbanism, they bought into the neighbourly Mount View Terrace at No 6, as a do-er upper, as an executor sale purchase.

They did renovations and upgrades in two bursts of energy, in the very early 2000s, and again around 2008, all the while appreciating the character, and warmth, of the local community, as well as the ease of access to the city and beyond.

Having fully enjoyed every moment, they admit to complete mixed feelings about making a move to another part of the city where they’ve just finished another, early 1900s period home restoration project, by the water this time.

While renting out No 6 might have been an option, they just didn’t want to be landlords, and want owner-occupiers to get the most out of what they are almost reluctantly leaving behind.

It’s a bright, breezy, and aesthetically appealing home, lavender coloured on its tidy front facade, and with an assertive strong purple back wall in its rear courtyard patio — the colour redolent of a Cadbury’s milk chocolate bar wrapper — and it’s priced very conservatively at ‘excess €245,000’ by its selling agent Lawrence Sweeney of Savills’ Cork office.

It didn’t need to launch in the midst of a heatwave to woo viewers — even in off-season and in winter it’s good enough to hold sway and, thanks to double glazing, gas central heating, a wood-burning Oisin Stanley stove and more, it gets a highly respectable (especially for a 130-year old mid-terraced house) C3 BER into the bargain.

There may well be a bit of a cherry-picking bidding bun-fight (there definitely will be, actually) for the utterly covetable

and widely affordable, mid terraced No 6 Mount View Terrace, as it comes to the market in tip-top order, as a fully re-formed entity, with a strong visual flair and feel, from top to bottom, and from its private front gate and paved sunny patio, to its terraced, sun-trap tiered back garden.

In mint order, with loads of retained original features and some modern twists and very accommodating, it stretches to a decent and useful 1,100 sq ft, over three levels, with the option of using a first- floor front room, flooded with early morning light through two its windows, either as a main bedroom, or as a with-drawing/living room.

At ground level is a tiled side hall on the left, with doors to the right to an interlinked front reception room with south/east aspect and stove, and rear kitchen/dining room, with tall banks of units and sunny, westerly aspect for evening sitting out.

Unexpectedly ‘posh’ is the revamped long bathroom in a rear annex extension, about 15’ long, fully tiled with sloping ceiling, Velux, luxurious double-ended stand-alone bath, and separate shower enclosure.

It’s a bathroom of a size and quality you’d expect in a far larger home, and it’s backed up by another, top-floor bathroom which works as a sort of Jack & Jill shared en-suite for the two uppermost, attic level bedrooms, both of them doubles, while the favourite bedroom is the one at mid-level, to the rear of the house overlooking the several levels of garden.

The house’s true age is possibly best gauged by the character of the back garden’s old, red sandstone walls, either side rising up with grades and levels, where there’s in-season planting, Buddleia in pots, St John’s Wort, Stags Horn, holly, ivy and a host more, happily ensconced amid paving, decking, bark mulch, stone steps and with elevated, sit-out sections framed by stainless steel rails and tensioned wires.

Internally, attractive features include high ceilings, a rich red glass pane in the hall divide in an arch, original doors and handles, and smooth sanded, stripped and matt-varnished old pine floors on the floors of the upper two levels.

Location-wise, this end of the Ballyhooley Road is an easy-peasy walk down to the city centre (Savills optimistically put it down as a seven-minute trot) and it’s on the 208 bus route which continues cross city to the western suburbs and hospitals past UCC.

No 6 also has a bike shed in the rear garden and a very screened front paved garden. Parking — for those who might need it — is on-street, with residents’ permits.

St Luke’s Cross has a range of amenities, schools are nearby, cafe culture has taken off, there are two upgraded hotels and — little wonder? — St Luke’s even gets honourable mention in a new, UK-published illustrated book for planners, designers, students and environmental professionals Characterising Neighbourhoods, which appraises locales “which are precise, well-informed and engaging.”

VERDICT: Where urban meets suburban, with casual style.

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