House of the week: Boreenmanna Road, Cork, €750,000

Many eyes have been trained recently on the grounds of this new-to-market large family home, Rockville, at the very city end of the Boreenmanna Road, not much more than 500 metres from Cork’s City Hall.

Size: 4,055 sq ft

Bedrooms: 6-8

Bathrooms: 4

BER: Pending

Best Feature: Size and city proximity

Over a century old, and in fine solid shape under its Dutch mansard roof and with many retained internal features, it’s been catching the eye of passers by along the Boreenmanna Road of late, mainly because of the eye-catching new home springing up in its side garden.

Rockville’s owners have been in situ here in this super-convenient setting in recent decades, and reared a family of six children within its c4,000 sq ft of space, and over three levels.

Now, they are downsizing, and are in the final construction throes of a new, striking, architect-designed corner sited A-rated three-storey replacement, in Rockville’s side garden. 

They’ll be able to walk and roll the furniture and belongings from one home to the next, for their house move.

House of the week: Boreenmanna Road, Cork, €750,000

The new-build is highly glazed, designed by West Cork architects and with West Cork drystone walling masonry too (plus some fine Kilkenny limestone,) and is separated from its older family member by a new wall divide, and an old set of limestone gate entrance pillars.

The far older house carries its name proudly in raised lettering above an arched pedestrian gate to an entrance area, which it shares with the side drive for off-street parking, and now-automated gates give access to the very privately set Rockville itself.

At one stage, the house had up to two acres of grounds, stretching right back to a quarry space butting up against and under Marble Hall Park, next to what’s now Rockboro national school.

Those acres of gardens were sundered under Compulsory Purchase Order by Cork Corporation, under the then city manager Joe McHugh, when the link road route from the fledgling south ring/Kinsale Road roundabout to City Hall was being formed. 

That link road, straight as a die and running along the route of the old West Cork railway from Albert St, is now a vital part of Cork’s traffic architecture. 

House of the week: Boreenmanna Road, Cork, €750,000

At that time, the Boreenmanna Road was more of a back lane, and swung up by the side of Rockboro Avenue to meet up with the Old Blackrock Road by the South Infirmary.

Today’s commuters may not recall this shift in roadways and residences, but the newly-built arriviste by Rockville is just another example of the changes that come with time.

A man who does, indeed have a special regard for Rockville’s past is auctioneer Tom Woodward, now charged with its sale for the current owner. 

It was Tom Woodward’s childhood home, and he and siblings were able to roam the acres after his parents Joe and Mary Woodward bought from the Hunt family in the 1960s: both families had been friends for decades and it passed from Hunt to Woodward in a handover as “always was a happy family home,” recalls Joe Woodward, whose sale brochure reckons it’s “one of the finest homes in Cork.”

They opened up some of the front rooms, putting in a large glazed sun room opening, out to a terraced which they paved with stone which was trucked down from Liscannor in Co Clare.

After the CPO, City Hall took on ownership, then it was sold by them to the South Infirmary/Victoria Hospital who used its abundant interior space for accommodation for medical staff and nurses. 

House of the week: Boreenmanna Road, Cork, €750,000

Finally, got resold, to the current private family of owners and brood of six, now all reared and moving on having had schools on the doorstep, and UCC and the city centre a walk away.

The current owners kept true to its period roots, so it still has some original fireplaces, and connecting/dividing sliding doors between the twin over-sized 22’ by 14’ reception rooms, and the hall is very authentic with encaustic tiled floors and original stained glass windows, front door and over-door panel.

A reeded, stripped pine doric column is now a fulcrum/turning point in the hall, put in in the Woodwards’ time when they took down some interim mid-1900s panelling to open up the space and create a flow.

Today, Rockville’s ground floor has a bookshelf-lined study, linked main reception room with terrace access, hall, back hall and country-style kitchen with granite-topped pine units, and a Stanley double oven, with a long adjacent utility, breakfast room plus guest WC.

Once up on the first floor, there are four bedrooms, with the master bedroom having dressing room and en suite, there’s a main family bathroom too, and the next floor up has four more attic level rooms, with sloping ceilings, plus another bathroom.

Overall condition is good, and there’s oodles of space for study and play rooms on top if the next owners don’t need all possible eight bedrooms, and there’s lots of storage too.

Outside, the ‘back’ of the house ‘fronts’ what was a section of Boreenmanna Road, and the front faces south and west, with walled in garden with bamboo, water feature/pond, garden shed and lawn, separated from raised shrubbed beds by rail sleepers. 

VERDICT: New chapter for a venerable old slice of Cork history.


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