Sandpiper House, a waterfront home on the way into Cobh with absolute killer views, may have a secret buried deep in its chimney breast.
That secret is reputed to have royal connections, in the form of an invite to Buckingham Palace, according to selling agent Johanna Murphy of Johanna Murphy & Son Estate Agents.
Why such an invite might have made its way to Marino Villas is a mystery, but even more puzzling is its fate — why bury such prestigious stationary behind layers of plaster? Surely it should be framed and hanging over the mantel?
These are questions the new owners will have ample time to contemplate as they laze away their days inside the windows of a sunroom that sits just above the water, with views guaranteed to take the edge off any need to self-isolate, should that need arise.
It’s also the perfect spot to bird-watch. The house gets its name from those small but long-legged waders that love to gather on the adjoining shingle beach to feast on crabs, clams, and shrimp in shallow waters.
For “boaty” people, Sandpiper House is ideal — other homes in the row of semi-d properties have pontoons and running moorings.
“If you are a boating enthusiast, you will be in heaven,” says Ms Murphy.
She points out the potential to reinstate a boathouse which was underneath the split-level garage, and had a gate onto the water.
The house itself dates back to the 1840s and has had just four owners, including family with links to Suttons Coal, and to a Major O’Donovan, ex-British Army (which may explain the royal invite) who grew potatoes on land in Cobh.
The wife of the major had a flair for interior design and did the interiors of the Big House at Marino Point. Ms Murphy says the cuttings from the carpets of the Big House were subsequently used at Sandpiper House.
This property has four bedrooms, each with a view of the harbour, and the downstairs layout also capitalises on that waterscape.
Its westerly aspect means it has the sun all day, and the sunroom looks out towards Marino Point.
Ms Murphy says the plans for Marino Point — former home to Irish Fertiliser Industries — include a commercial park, with small cruise lines likely to berth there.
The deep-water 114-acre site was purchased by Port of Cork and Lanber Holdings in 2017 and a masterplan for the redevelopment of the area was unveiled last year.
Sandpiper House was renovated a decade ago, when the sunroom was added, the kitchen extended and a new roof, new windows, and a new heating system installed.
Johanna Murphy says it is ideal “for any type of buyer, as it suits a family or indeed the person who wants to downsize from a big house”.
“The current owners have been there 30-odd years and they’ve had an amazing time there. They are definitely going to miss it, but the kids are grown, and they want to downsize.
“It’s a great house for family living and great for entertaining,” Ms Murphy adds.
As an added bonus, the train station is literally across the road and the cross-river ferry is a two-minute drive from the house.
Judging by the Property Price Register, homes in Marino Villas do not come to market very often.
Plain sailing for anyone looking for a waterfront home.