Have yourself a harbour haven in Monkstown

Renovations to No 2 the Shrubberies, back 1995, created a delight that has stood the test of time, says Tommy Barker.

Monkstown, Cork Harbour - €675,000

Size: 300 sq m (3,300 sq ft)

Bedrooms: 5

Bathrooms: 4


A ‘PROPER’ job was done back about 20 years ago when No 2 the Shrubberies in Cork’s Monkstown last changed hands.

The upgrades (which include a well engineered off-street parking deck to the rear, behind electric gates, with multi-purpose room underneath) have stood the test of time too: with its owners departing for work reasons, back to Dublin whence they came in 1995, and as it hits an autumn market via Savills, No 2’s effectively a walk-in, drive-in, residential trader upper, with three access points and an impressive sweep of Cork harbour and marine vista at its feet.

Dating to 1869, it’s pure Victorian in era and character, and appears generously oversized, all the rooms are just that bit larger than in many other more typical Victorians, and ceiling heights are lofty, at 11’ across the ground floor rooms. And, the two upper levels, offering five bedrooms and with almost apartment-sized attic bedrooms, are high ceilinged also. It’s a home that’s accommodating on all fronts, in fact.

The duo of semis that comprises The Shrubberies is possibly in Monkstown’s best residential stretch, keeping ‘quality’ company with the likes of the adjacent Gordon Villas, while Sydenhamh Terrace is to its east/rear, and Alta Terrace off to the west by the Sand Quay and new yacht marina.

Views out from No 2 over the inner harbour, towards Haulbowline and Verolme get better each floor you ascend. At ground are two extra-wide bay windows, and at top, attic level, there’s so much head room here that this house’s occupants decided to make the two uppermost bedroom split level, with three steps up towards the dormer windows to more easily access those views. These twin second floor large rooms, sharing a shower room between them, will go down a treat with offspring, visitors or guests, and would win fans even as lofty suites on airbnb.

Have yourself a harbour haven in Monkstown

Selling agent for No 2 The Shrubberies is Michael O’Donovan of Savills, and he guides at €675,000, and that equates to about €200 per square foot for the property package’s 3,300 sq ft in all.

Given that most of the considerable upgrades and work was done in 1995, it’s refreshingly free of Celtic Tiger bling and shiny ephemeral stuff (but, there is central vacuum all the same), and colours were chosen to go with its period home roots. So, there’s several shades of terraccotta and the like, as well as strong yellows in the added-on studio/gym/home office/den to the rear, reached via a short link corridor with glazed apex roof. There’s about 300 sq ft added on back here (pic, bottom right), under the parking platform, and is ideal for those who want to separate home-office work from their more relaxing living spaces.

As it stands, the house has two other, airy reception rooms with broad bay windows and original marble fireplaces. The vendors opened one room into a rear kitchen, for a front-to-back full depth kitchen/dining room, a very effective flow of space. The kitchen has beech units, topped with black granite plus a moveable island on wheels, a Rayburn range provides calories for cooking and hot water, and overhead is a Sheila Maid clothes drying horse on pulleys and ropes, almost lost in this lofty room’s ether.

This great, family friendly room set up includes a neat circular breakfast bar, there are double doors in the square window bay to the front garden, and the room’s fireplace is an elegant beauty, in relatively rare red Cork marble.

Flooring in the hall, guest WC and in the main reception room is reclaimed narrow strip mahogany, and the handrails on the original stout and steady staircases are also polished hardwood.

There’s a bathroom on each level, with the main family bathroom on a rear return, where there’s a cast ion bath, graced by a large mirror fitted into an arched alcove, sufficiently present to remind bathers to pull in their tummies before taking the plunge.

No 2’s own mid-level spread has three bedrooms, all doubles, and the main has a long walk-through dressing room/robe, leading to an en suite bathroom at the rear of the house, cocooned in a curved, feature wall of glass blocks.

Windows throughout have been replaced to up the comfort factor, in double glazed PVC frames, and heating is oil fired, while bottle gas feeds the ground floor’s two principal fireplaces.

Have yourself a harbour haven in Monkstown

Most rooms above have kept fire surrounds too, mostly in cast iron, and the days when homes like this would have been ablaze with flickering fires and the consequent clean ups is recalled in the name of a pedestrian path running along No 2’s side wall boundary, called the Ashy Steps.

There’s a side gate set on this long stone wall, another pedestrian access point is at the garden’s lower-most level by Marine Villas (No 2 The Shrubberies overlooks the majorly upgraded No 5 Marine Villas, sold in a derelict state at a 2014 auction for almost twice its €200k auction guide, fetching €382,000 in competitive bidding, and more than that sum again has clearly been poured into its rebuild and extension.)

Thankfully, the wholly robust No 2 needs no big spend on top of its purchase price, and comes with gently sloping gardens front garden with patio and decking in a sun spot, some feature planting, and a wisteria-clad pergola to boot.

Bar/cafes are to hand, as are sports amenities like sailing, tennis and golf, and Monkstown’s national school Scoil Barra Naofa, is just across the road and above The Shrubberies.

VERDICT: Harbour home ahoy.


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