Echoes of the past in home for the present

Tommy Barker finds a mix of timeless solidity and contemporary flair in a five-bed home with stunning views in all directions.

YOU can see for miles, and miles, and then miles more, from this Farran home, appropriately called An Radharc, or The View.

Not only can you seen the 10 miles or so to the high points of Cork’s County Hall, St Fin Barre’s Cathedral and the Elysian tower in Cork city away to the east, but in a sense, you can also see into the past. Set into the flattened out fields in the plain of the River Bride, between the two rising ridges north and south of the N22 Cork Macroom, are the evocative remains of Kilcrea Friary or abbey, established by the Franciscan Observants in the 1460s. Centuries separate the abbey, beneath, and the earlier Kilcrea Castle’s ruins, while a tangible link to An Rahdarc is the fact that it, too, is built to last – stone-built.

It’s actually a fairly modern home, built over a decade ago to a design by architect James Leahy, and mixes timeless stone with extensive glazing, very much a feature of the late 20th and 21st centuries.

Its owner has built several contemporary homes around the Cork area in the past decade, and this large 3,300sq ft house was a corporate let for a while, before the family moved back into residence.

Now, the urge to build yet again, but further west closer to family roots, has come to point, and this five-bed, one-off home is up for sale.

Agents Sheila O’Flynn and Norma Healy of Sherry FitzGerald have the sale of this big detached family home on a half acre, private sloping and south-facing site, a real box-ticker for those seeking to trade up on Cork city’s western side, less than a 10-minute direct spin to the Bishopstown suburbs thanks to the Ballincolig bypass.

It hits the market with a €750,000 AMV, and has space aplenty, with high ceilings a real feature, from the open atrium hall well into the core areas.

There are high ceilings in the lounge, with a high stone chimney breast in the gable wall, but it is the family room/sunroom that is airiest of all, a very large split-level or stepped space with extensive glazed roof section: this draws huge passive solar gain into the house, in almost all weathers, and in the very coldest periods can be screened off by heavy drapes.

There’s also a good dining room to the rear, with raised apex top to the loft window, and feature blue glass blocks form much of the dividing wall between this formal dining space and the long kitchen also to the rear, with its maple units and integrated appliances.

Other ground floor rooms include a home office with very high speed ISDN lines (the vendor does IT-based work from home) and a utility, and circulation areas are bright and open, ideal for displaying art – and this house has some cracking contemporary pieces, including large-scale sculptures by artist Leo Linehan.

Overhead, there are five bedrooms, and the master bed is more like hotel suite size, with high ceilings (a four-poster bed looks lost here) and there’s a separate raised seating area with big armchairs, an ideal bright reading spot under a window.

An Radharc has, indeed, views from all of its main rooms, and has an elevated viewing balcony off the first floor landing to maximise the expansive vista east, south and west towards Macroom.

The house is visibly standing up well for its age and quite innovative, individual design, but new owners will probably change some of the internal wall colours and tiling as they have dated less successfully, but that’s just a discretionary and even fun thing to deliberate on. It’s a house with personality, ready for a new stamp and fingerprint.


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