The name of this house along Cork city’s lovely and leafy Marina promenade works on two levels.
Size: 184sq m
Best Feature: The Marina
It’s called Leeward, which can mean in the sheltered ‘lee’ side, away from the wind, and, leeward can also refer to the fact it’s oriented towards the River Lee.
Set at the Blackrock village end of the tree-lined and Lee-parallelling Marina, this Leeward is the latest, and one of the more modern, of quite a few house sales along the Marina in relatively quick procession, after a relative dearth of chances to buy over decades.
Over the past five years, Cork’s Blackrock has been forging ahead in popularity and price recovery/ price record stakes, and now as the City Council now is finally at work on upgrading the public realm with new paving (and exposing old tram tracks) between the village, Ursuline convent grounds and pier/ slipways, it’s set to go up another notch or two in its citizens’ estimation and appreciation.
(See also Cover Story for the launch this weekend, or the first of the 27 luxury apartments at the remarkable Blackrock House, within the former Ursuline Convent building.)
Despite being priced at €790,000 by its selling agents Sherry FitzGerald, Leeward is also one of the more, ‘affordable’, arrivals for sale on this prime Blackrock village strip, given the resurgence in the Marina’s popularity.
Dating probably to the 1970s, it’s just shy of 2,000 sq ft, and crucially is on a site of 0.29 of an acre, and that allows for wriggle room, extensions fore, aft, windward or leeward, and/ or alterations if a new owner should so wish.
It gets glimpses, at best, right now of the River Lee itself, given that its owners have chosen to keep a screening belt of trees, large shrubs and old pine along its front boundary.
Sure, all that greenery blocks/ frames and restricts the views out, but it does the same task in reverse, meaning the many passers-by who relish their Marina promenades, cycles or races only get the faintest idea of what sort of house is inside here.
It’s quite the mixed bag, the housing mix along the Marina: there’s only about a dozen homes here in all, the oldest being the 300-year-old North Cliffe which sold last year for €1.25m via Sherry FitzGerald.
Also sold in the previous two years by the same agents were the Edwardian semi-ds, one called Airgideen for €935,000 (and now being worked on) and followed a year or so later by the already extended Kilmona at €980,000.
Along this short run too are a few mid-1900s detached homes, and one or two very recent builds, including a striking zinc-roofed one right next door to Leeward.
Other than that, the Marina is all about the walk, the sentinel trees either side, the public park, the Atlantic Pond, and a certain Páirc Uí Chaoimh, now being rebuilt.
The Marina is also about the River Lee, just 25m from Leeward’s entrance pillars, and its users span the gamut, from container ships at Tivoli docks to leisure users, currachs and kayaks, to small fishing boats, and sleek club rowing boats, pair, fours and eights, as Blackrock/ the Marina is home to three long-established rowing clubs.
Auctioneers Sheila O’Flynn and Ann O’Mahony of Sherry FitzGerald say that Leeward is bright, and in good decorative condition, with a woodland feel to its gardens, and numerous recreation options on the doorstep.
One of its five bedrooms is en suite and there are three reception rooms, some with wood-block flooring plus modern gloss kitchen. The back faces south, with good garden space and has large windows, and is perfectly pitched for a contemporary, glazed wing or two.
It’s almost certain to get bidders with big budgets and grander plans for it than its current state and size. The chance are that once bought, and worked on further, a total budget could be heading up to €1m.
However, the really ‘big money’ typically still goes to period homes, such as Lisnalee (€2.6m), Dundanion House (€1.96m), North Cliffe (€1.25m) and Woodsgift (€1.65m, in recent months.)
VERDICT: Extension wings? Leeward’s about to take flight.
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