THERE’S quite a history to Cork’s period Rockgrove House, in whose grounds this new-to-market, accommodating and hospitable family home was built 21 years ago.
Size: 280 sq m (3,000 sq ft)
Best Feature: Space and grounds
In the 1940s, 60 military huts dominated the lower grounds of the 18th century Rockgrove House, and were used in 1949 to accommodate hundreds of Eastern European refugees escaping Russian oppression, rescued from a damaged Swedish ship in Cork harbour, called the Victory, en route to Canada.
Subsequently, the house, gym and huts continued in military and FCA training usage, eventually being leased out to commercial enterprises, with a number of occupiers given the option to buy in lots in 1973 when the entire 40-acre Rockgrove property (originally associated with the Dring family) was put up for sale.
Among those who acquired much of Rockgrove were the Spillane and McCarthy families, the latter establishing the Biocel food ingredients business there.
Subsequently, later generations built large homes on this commanding, south-facing hillside with the original blue, five-bay Rockgrove House (renovated in the ‘70s) as centerpiece still.
Now, the architect-designed Creagán, a large, detached five-bed house on very private grounds on part of the former grounds of venerable Rockgrove House, comes up for sale, reached past a shared entrance period gate lodge and limestone pillars on what would have been the old Little Island Road: right by Creagán’s and Rockgrove’s entrance is a very old milestone, marking the distance to Cork and to Youghal.
Designed by architect Bill Brady, Creagán’s got 3,000 sq ft under its unusual, deep mansard roof and selling agent Jeremy Murphy who prices it at €595,000 rightly points out that it’s very deceptive as to it size and characteristics.
Laid out with a generosity of space, and facing due south on mature landscaped gardens, it has a large hall and landing, with rooms ranged off across its L-shaped floor plan and extra high (9’) ceiling heights at ground level, and with lots of quality timbers used internally, including Colombian pine in the stairs, doors, and hewn kitchen ceiling beams.
The largest room is the 22’ by 18’ living room, marginally split level with double aspect (E/S), large stone open fireplace, with walnut flooring, and also generously sized, at the house’s far end, is the kitchen/dining room, with ORM pine kitchen, Stanley range cooker, and feature ceiling beams.
Also at ground level are a second living room with cast iron and black marble fireplace, utility, two guest WCs, central hall off a large, extensively glazed entrance porch, and a family room/playroom, plus dining room with access to a west-facing patio, stone-paved sun terrace and stone BBQ with stone chimney.
Overhead, this highly adaptable family home has five bedrooms (and, there are several options for a ground floor bedroom if needs be) and two of them have sheltered balconies as distinguishing features, one facing east overlooking Cork harbour down toward Marino Point, and the master en suite bedroom, with double aspect, and walk-in robes, has a south-facing balcony for morning espressos via double doors.
Most of Creagán’s rooms are to the front, for the southerly aspect, and a couple of first floor bedrooms have quite startling, long-distance views, down over Little Island to Monkstown.
Also a view in its own right is the west end of garden at Creagán, with landscaping to match the setting which backs into a sandstone rock cliff which runs across this property’s northern boundary.
A natural crevice in the rock is now a water feature, cascading water into a stone channel or runnel and which feeds into a deep rock pool, overlooked by a small wooden bridge and by stone-flagged paths curving around the large, extensively landscaped private grounds with some feature birches and shrubs.
The owners say much of the stone for the water feature came from a military schoolhouse which was originally on this site and which was demolished, and old brick also was salvaged for the feature chimney breast in the kitchen’s arch around the Stanley range.
VERDICT: A rock-solid, distinctive one-off home.
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