No 5 Richmond Terrace is right in the centre of this arty and bohemian enclave, writes Tommy Barker.
Thankfully, there’s been a sensitive era of renewal to the long, hidden, run of eight, early 1800s homes at Richmond Terrace, up in Cork’s bohemian Gardiner’s Hill, higher up even than St Luke’s Cross.
It’s quite an elevation and a climb if travelling by shank’s mare, or by electric bike, yet it’s only a mile from Cork city centre and the fast-renewing MacCurtain Street.
And, it’s almost coincidental to realise they were built day one, in the 1820s/1830s, as ‘rest houses’ for British officers, returning from military campaigns in that era of empire.
It’s near enough to the old barracks at Military Hill too, as a projectile flies, but it was laid out at a sufficient distance to feel in a semi-rural setting.
Now, the city and ‘burbs have encroached on its eyrie, but it is still screened off by a long pedestrian access lane, now abundantly green and verdant.
Thus, almost 200 years after first conceived, Richmond Terrace still has that air of remove from the woes of the world.
There’s only been a few resales in the past decade or two: No 8 sold in the mid 2000s, and No 3 sold in 2011 for €240,000, having launched at €275,000 in a chillier market.
No 1 has had quite an architect-inspired makeover, and at the other, book-end, No 9 Richmond is a stand-alone detached 1905 Arts and Crafts beauty, currently with builders seemingly doing a major overhaul. It all seems like an arty, special, neighbourly enclave.
Now, mid-terraced No 5 is new to market with estate agent Jarleth Boyd of Timothy Sullivan Associates, and he guides at €295,000 for a home that someone’s going to cherish and bring on a bit more.
No 5 has been minded for the last 36 years by the same person, who is now trading down, and it has been well kept, with due deference for internal architectural detailing.
The setting is quite magical, with communal pedestrian access only to the front doors and enclosed private gardens of the eight, all leafy and lovely and with some special planting in evidence in individual gardens too.
Parking is quite tight, out on Gardiner’s Hill, but Richmond Terrace saves the day a bit by virtue of a rear lane, with parking for neighbours, and each of these eight has its own rear yard gate, and return annexes too, for even more enclosure.
In between its two access points, there’s a lovely residence, with four bedrooms, two front reception rooms, rear galley-style kitchen, and dining room, all off a wide hall, with an internal central arch with corbels.
The main bathroom is at ground level too, and there’s an internal step or two down to the more service-like back rooms to the side of the staircase.
That wide, timber-painted stairs is a good reminder of the house’s venerable service, and the stair return window has stained glass panels, as does the front door’s fan arch.
Upstairs proper, there are four bedrooms and the front ones have windows almost down to floor level, with gentle curves to their side reveals.
Two bedrooms still have their original fireplaces with raised baskets. There’s a WC too to the back, off the landing, but the main washing will have to be done downstairs in the long, narrow bathroom.
Meanwhile the kitchen’s a sort of galley kitchenette, and some of the original window shutters removed when replacement hardwood windows went in to No 5 a decade or two ago are now cupboard doors. Might they be reinstated, out front in military fashion, having done domestic service duties for a while?
One of the two reception rooms has kept an original fireplace, the other’s a ‘60’s marble job, and the floors are old, wide-board pine.
Now for sale, No 5’s likely to take a bit more money to make it energy efficient (it is exempt of BER rating as it is a protected structure) and there’s scope too in the back yard’s outbuildings and lofted store for upgrading and repurposing.
VERDICT: A place, and time, apart.
Richmond Terrace Gardiner’s Hill, Cork City
Size 100 sq m (1,100 sq ft)
Best Feature: Historic row and military roots
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