Fine gale behind Rockcliffe sale

Period terraced home is in Cork Fine Gael 'blueblood' ranks territory
Fine gale behind Rockcliffe sale

Rockcliffe House in Blackrock. Pictures: John Finn
Rockcliffe House in Blackrock. Pictures: John Finn

The country has voted for change...but, the Big Change has yet to come.

After 100 years of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael mutual opposition post-Civil War, one century on it seems that a Grand Coalition of the auld, posturing political enemies might finally be on the cards.

And, if something as ‘radical’ as that can come to pass, then might a non-Fine Gaeler (FF, Green or even a Sinn Féin supporter?) inveigle his or her way into the likes of 7 Rockcliffe Terrace? It’s on a stretch of suburban Cork’s Blackrock Road that is steeped in blue-blooded Fine Gael links.

After all, the original period era, circa 19th century Rockclifffe House was the family home of the late FG TD Hugh Coveney, his wife Pauline and their brood of children (including current Tanáiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney) for a lengthy period, before the Coveney clan upped sticks for country living on a coastal farm by Minane Bridge about 30 years ago.

Meanwhile, across the road, lived another FG eminence grise, the late Peter Barry, also a one-time Foreign Affairs Minister for the party, among other key portfolios, rearing his family in a house called Sherwood on its Blackrock Road grounds.

Peter Barry’s daughter Deirdre Clune, a Fine Gael MEP for Ireland South, still lives on the Blackrock Road, having built a home, and secured planning for several one-off contemporary homes on €500,000 sites. MEP Clune has since relocated, while still remaining very close by her original roots.

And, then there’s Rockcliffe Terrace, where the mid-1800s-constructed No 7 seen here is currently for sale.

It’s been owned by the same owner for about 40 years and she’s relocating to East Cork, around Midleton.

And, in the case of No 7, what’s the Fine Gael link?

Well, previous owners of this mid-terraced period home include the Cahill family, a member of which — Des Cahill — is a very well-known local FG councillor and a recent holder of the office of Lord Mayor of Cork, as well as a business owner with a butcher’s shop up to a few years back in adjacent suburban Ballintemple. In a nutshell, that’s a lot of ‘first preferences’ for this location.

No 7 Rockcliffe Terraces is listed at €400,000 with agent John Hornibrook of James Colbert & Co auctioneers, based in east Cork, a firm with one or two previous Blackrock Road sales to their credit. They’re confident of both a cross-section of bidding interest, from all ends of the political spectrum and even ages.

It’s not a ‘Mansion House,’ but weighs in at about 1,100 sq ft, with four bedrooms, and two bathrooms, as well as a mix of reception rooms, off a central hall. One’s front-to-back, on the right, the others are interlinked via hinged, small service/connection hatch doors, along with a kitchenette.

Even though it didn’t get much significant investment over the past few decades, No 7’s got considerable elegance, writ low-key, with a lovely fanlight over the blue front door with its brass ironmongery.

Internally, rooms have original detailing such as plaster ceiling coving, dado rails, original doors and architraves, several period-appropriate fireplaces plus some mid 1900s tiled one, and has six-over-six pane wooden sash windows to the front across its triple bay symmetrical facade, possibly not entirely or all originals.

Colbert & Co auctioneer John Hornibrook acknowledges that No 7 Rockcliffe Terrace now needs some upgrading, and while there’s no BER to hand, any aspiring buyer will want to work with the best of the old and adding new comforts and low-ish running costs.

No 7’s south-facing to the front, with centre path and side lawn and has on-street parking, while the rear has a stepped patio, single-storey annexe/store and a mature back garden, a good decent length.

It has lots of scope for extending, as some of the neighbours have done, so if/when visiting in these suddenly straitened property visit times, have a sconce along the row to see what the neighbours have done.

The Price Register shows No 8 next door selling for €400,000 back in 2014, while No 11 a few doors away and which previously featured here in these pages sold in 2019 for €475,000. No 11, also called Cooline, had gone to market in ’17 with a €500,000 price guide and was a larger home, closer to c 2,000 sq ft, was BER G-rated.

VERDICT: Vote of confidence. No 7’s an original of the species, modest enough sized right now, needing work, but it’s got pedigree, property-wise and politically speaking.

  • Blackrock Road, Cork
  • €400,000
  • Size: 102 sq m (1,100 sq ft)
  • Bedrooms: 4
  • Bathrooms: 2
  • BER: N/A
  • Best Feature: Blue blood

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