Tommy Barker reports on the launch of a development in the harbour town that’s been years in the making.
Kinsale, Co Cork €235,000
Size: 114/115 sq m
JUST short of a miracle, the builders are back on site at the old, Sisters of Mercy St Joseph’s Convent, up ‘in the Gods’ above Kinsale at the Ramparts.
Convent Garden is back in gear, all hard hats, high-viz jackets, diggers and designers, after almost a decade in the doldrums and lying dormant, and about 15 years after the so-prominent seven acre convent site high above the town and harbour went to market, selling in the early 2000s for between €3-4 million.
Builder Eddie O’Mahony of Cumnor Construction is back driving the development at Convent Gardens, after plans for a reduced-scale development of 96 units (down from 158 approved back in 2004, after several planning applications) were approved by Cork County Council here on Winters Hill, to include apartments, in the historic, Famine-era sequence of convent buildings.
Eight tall, three storey townhouses in two types and in two facing terraces go to market and on show this weekend, with agents Elizabeth Hegarty and Catherine McAuliffe of Savills, with a slick, contemporary, ‘shades of grey’-decorated showhouse among the offers, with the others being sold at ‘builder’s finish’, with PC sums allowed for choices of kitchen, tiling, etc.
Prices range form €235,000 to €250,000, so that’s pretty affordable for Kinsale at least, which quite probably has the highest average house prices in all of Cork, if not in most of Munster.
Later phases will include larger detached houses, more terraces, plus apartments (these will be within the 1840s-built convent complex) and some quite spectacularly designed big LA-style villas: it’s going to a be a development in progress for several years more, given its sheer scale.
Convent Garden’s design ws is by Brazilian architect Haroldo de Oliveira, of Jack Coughlan Associates who has brought a different, urban street scale look to the current run of townhouses, with accommodation over three floors.
The long, first runs of terraced buildings, almost on the skyline, were evident for the past decade on the approach to Kinsale, with the lack of windows to the back seeming perplexing, especially given the tantalizing prospect of harbour views.
That’s because future rows are now being built in front of them, and quite close too, so it was intended to do away with overlooking issues.
There’s about a single square metre in size difference between the two very different styles of tall three-beds, the type B has 115 sq m, with an integrated garage eating into ground floor space, and the main living rooms thus is at first floor level.
Across the landscaped avenue, the slate-hung (very traditional Kinsale feature) type C house have 116 sq m (1,240 sq ft) with off-street parking, ground floor living/kitchen/dining, and bedrooms on the two uppermost levels, with compact rear courtyards.
Savills have open viewing this weekend, following on the very successful launch and showhouse opening last month of another 27-unit Kinsale development, Cluain Mara, for Centurion Homes who plan further Cork city and county schemes.
Target market for Cumnor’s Convent Garden first phase release of eight units/townhouses is first-time buyers, and those seeking a second/Kinsale property or base, at a reasonable price entry point, within a short downhill walk of the centre of Kinsale.
All houses are building energy ‘A’ rated, with triple glazing in painted timber frames, with energy-efficient, low-temperature ‘Daikin’ air to water heating and hot water (180 litre) systems with smart controls, high air-tightness and insulation levels, multi-fuel stoves in living areas and underfloor heating at ground, with low temperature aluminium radiators used on upper levels.
Ducting for 100Mb fibre optic broadband is in place, for landline phone, internet and TV usage via Sky Homes packages.
VERDICT: Well-built, tall house on compact sites, and only glimpses (at best of) harbour views from the first terraces to launch.
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