€1.1m Georgian home on banks of the Lee no run-of-the-mill property

Millboro House needs some investment but may well be worth it with a 13-acre site, tennis court, orchard, sunken parterre garden, and shingle beach — it could even be a wonderful hotel
€1.1m Georgian home on banks of the Lee no run-of-the-mill property

Millboro House on Cork's Lee Road is on the market with a guide price of €1.1 million. Picture: Denis Scannell

Lee Road, Cork City

€1.1 million


4,800 sq ft (+2,000 sq ft annex) on 13 acres)







A QUICK scoot out of town, heading west, over Wellington Bridge, will take you in no time to the leafy Lee Road, where anyone lucky enough to own a home there has terrific views over the river valley that dips below it.

One such home is Millboro, a striking period property, that in its heyday must have hosted some of Munster’s finest, given the rollcall of previous owners.

They include the Fitton family, noted as having iron and flour works, mill houses, and land at Millboro (hence the name) dating back to 1765, followed by the Rohus, in 1875, of Breton descent, of whom Frederick Rohu, a taxidermist and furrier, had an unexpected boost to business following the tragic sinking in 2015 of the Lusitania by a German U-boat.

The Rohu family history states that “a little known story links the tragedy to the Cork branch of the Rohu family”  — local fishermen brought fur pelts, washed ashore from the stricken ship, to the Rohus, who dried them out and sold them to the British Army.

The French connection continued into the 20th century when Dr DG Daniel Coleman and his Normandy-born wife, Monique Loiseau, bought the house in 1953 for €2,900.

As noted in these pages two years ago, when the house was on the market for €900,000, Dr Don, aka Dickie Bow, spent years filling it with antiques, panelling many of its walls with expensive timbers salvaged from ships, including one of the Innisfallens and the SS Kenmare.

The large dining room.
The large dining room.

Now it’s returned to market once more, this time with Tom Woodward of Woodwards Auctioneers and Valuers, and with a heightened sale price of €1.1m.

Given the 4,800 sq ft house itself, and its 2,000 sq ft annexe, need substantial investment, the price tag may raise eyebrows. However, drilling into the detail gives a clearer picture: the purchaser will acquire not just an elegant, albeit in need of restoration, Georgian residence in the leafy green shade on the banks, but also 13 acres that, coming into summer, are right up there with Fitzgerald Park (12 acres) in terms of stunning floral output, with magnolia trees worthy of a special mention.

There’s also a tennis court, in need of resurfacing,  a sunken parterre garden, an orchard, and a shingle beach on the river banks, which Millboro families have utilised over the years as a launchpad for boating and swimming. 

Mr Woodward believes the house and site could work well as a small private hotel, just a 10 minute spin from Cork city and on such superb grounds.

Nothing like this exists so close to the city.

The impressive entrance, a limestone flagged portico with Corinthian columns, is certainly more typical of a small period hotel than a family home.

 Equally, most family homes do not have an ornamental garden pond, or an orangery, or an 840 sq ft derelict house complete with turret on their grounds. Or, for that matter, 300 metres river frontage and fishing rights.

Millboro house is reached via a winding drive and is fronted by a generous patio, across the top of the south-facing ‘suntrap’ gardens. Perfect for entertaining, it was the setting for a Coleman family wedding with marquee. The previous owners liked dinner parties and Millboro was the perfect backdrop for summer soirées.

In a changed world, it could now be the perfect Covid haven, a secluded oasis, with plenty to occupy whoever buys.

“It’s a lifetime project, we’re not hiding that,” Mr Woodward says.

The entrance hallway.
The entrance hallway.

That said, the house has plenty of charm and character, with period details still in place, such as the gorgeous fanlight over the Georgian entrance door, the cornicing, timber panelling, and fairly fabulous fireplaces.

The kitchen has a Stanley cooker and terrazzo flooring with a pantry off it and is lovely in its own way. 

Off the kitchen, the rear hallway is currently used as a utility area, and has a guest WC.

Mr Woodward says the potential buyers “will probably enjoy planning a more contemporary kitchen and utility area”.

Upstairs, the four bedrooms are rather grand, if faded, dominated by four-poster beds and wooden panelling. The master bedroom is ensuite. 

Master bedroom
Master bedroom

The annexe hosts another three bedrooms and is fronted by an orangery, currently fairly dishevelled, but which, with a bit of elbow grease, could be a showstopper.

Back in the main house, there’s a large living room off the main hall, and across the way, a huge dining room. Both have garden views. Further down the hallway, there’s a library with beamed ceiling and stairs leading into the annexe.

The library.
The library.

There are a number of outbuildings, in various states of dilapidation, but which, with a bit of imagination, could be transformed into workshops/studios/stables/additional accommodation.

Mr Woodward says the children of Dr DG Coleman and Ms Loiseau recall Millboro as a magical place to grow up in.

“At only three miles from Cork city centre, it’s easy to see why it appealed to professionals with large families who sought a tranquil home,” he says.

Millboro is on the right side of town for UCC, CUH, and Ballincollig (Apple and EMC) and the South Link Road is just 10 minutes away.

VERDICT: Not a project for the faint-hearted, but given the setting, worth the effort if you can afford it.

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