Glebe House in Castlemartyr: So many storeys to tell

This former Church of Ireland home has housed an interesting mix of characters over the years
Glebe House in Castlemartyr: So many storeys to tell

Glebe House

Castlemartyr, Co Cork



378 sq m (4080 sq ft)







AN eclectic procession of professionally successful characters bursts through the pages of Glebe House’s colourful history.

Having shaken off a staid start as a Church of Ireland (CoI) rectory in the 1800s, it’s been, in more recent years, home to an Egyptian doctor and his Irish wife; to the children of that doctor, one of whom became a dotcom millionaire, and, most recently, home to the late Professor David Harold Cox, head of the Department of Music at University College Cork.

It got off the ground, so to speak, in 1815, when a gift of £100 and a £1,350 loan from the Board of First Fruits helped fund the building. It subsequently made an appearance as a “handsome residence” in the 1837 Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, by data-collecting legend, Samuel Lewis.

By way of explanation, the Board of First Fruits was an institution of the CoI established in 1711 by Anne, Queen of Great Britain, to build and improve churches and glebe houses in Ireland.

Glebe House, Mogeely Road, Castlemartyr, was owned by the CoI until 1959 when it was purchased by the Hennessy family. It was subsequently sold to the Naji family, headed up by Dr Moussa Naji. He and his Irish wife Catherine had five children, one of whom, Samir Naji, went on to found Horizon Technologies, which successfully floated on the Nasdaq during the dotcom boom.

The Naji family sold the house in 1997 to Yorkshire man Prof Cox and his wife Roslyn, both now deceased.

Prof Cox, who passed away in August, was recognised as an extremely accomplished composer and gifted educator. Following his passing, Glebe House is once more on the market with Lawrence Sweeney of Savills, for €395,000.

There’s already strong interest, Mr Sweeney says, including from the USA, the UK, and Ireland.

“The phone has been hopping,” he says, adding that there’s another “particular cohort” — natives of East Cork living in Dublin — looking to return.

“They’ve been looking for something like this, and the pandemic has accelerated the move,” he says.

The 4,080 sq ft Georgian residence on approximately 2.8 acres represents good value, Mr Sweeney says, “reflective of the fact that a bit of work needs to be done”.

“Depending on what you want to do — there’s a bit of refurbishment, and you could look at insulation and improving windows. But I think anything you spend, you will make back in spades,” he says.

Glebe House is deceptive — from the front, it looks like a two-storey house. In fact, the front door leads to the first-floor entrance hall with its 13’ corniced ceiling. At this level, you will find a study, a living room, and dining room, where tall windows let in plenty of natural light.

A stairs leading down from the hallway takes you to the biggest room in the house, an open-plan kitchen/dining/sitting room, with a modern wood-burning stove and an oil-fired AGA. At this level, there’s also a utility room and guest WC.

Back up the stairs again and on up to the second floor, four bedrooms and a main bathroom lead off a spacious landing.

A large patio area to the south and western sides of the house is ideal for BBQs on long summer evenings, and there are large lawns.

Mr Sweeney says the house is just a 1km walk from the village of Castlemartyr.

He reckons it could make “an amazing family home” and points out the different attractions in the area, including Castlemartyr resort with its gym/spa/swimming pool, some excellent retail in the area, a nearby primary school, buses to secondary school in Midleton (9km away) and work due to start on the Youghal/Midleton Greenway.

VERDICT: Opportunity to acquire a period house on a nice site at a good price.

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