A Cobh home that housed artists and sculptors was rebuilt as a tribute to a grandmother

Richard Scott bought back the family home, restored it, and re-named it in honour of his grandparents
A Cobh home that housed artists and sculptors was rebuilt as a tribute to a grandmother

Cobh, Co Cork



84 sq m (904 sq ft)







Richard Scott’s desire to safeguard the family home chimes with his passion for curating, a word with roots in the Latin “curare”, meaning “to take care of”.

Having formed an indelible bond with his grandmother Nora during his childhood years, spending countless enjoyable weekends in Cobh at No 4 Roches Terrace, he never let go of his love for that cozy terraced home.

“I had such good memories of her and of Cobh and I was very attached to the house,” he says.

So even though his grandmother sold No 4 in 1978 and it changed hands many times over the next three decades, Richard took the opportunity to buy it back in 2008.

As is often the case with old homes, it required substantial investment. 

“The minute you start digging, the problems start mounting,” he says. In the end, it made more sense to gut the house, leaving just the back and front walls standing, essentially building a new home within the shell of the old.

He also decided to flip the house, installing two bedrooms, a bathroom and a separate shower room with WC downstairs and putting the main living space upstairs to avail of superb harbour views.

Great care was taken during the construction process, with fully breathable clay plaster sourced from Hugh Dorrian of Stoneware Studios in Youghal and applied to the bedroom walls. Old windows were replaced by timber sash windows from Munster Joinery, a tiled marble floor was laid throughout downstairs, an outhouse in the ground floor rear courtyard was used to house a pressurised water system and gas boiler, expensive teak wainscotting was fitted in the hallway and upstairs living area, where the roof was raised into a vault and four veluxes installed to let in maximum light. A radon barrier was also installed.

The house that emerged was barely recognisable to Richard’s father Declan, who grew up there, and whose own father James died there, just days after Richard was born.

One thing’s for sure though - it will forever be James and Nora’s home, because Richard re-named the house 'Nora-James, 4 Roches Tce', as a tribute to his grandmother and his grandfather, a garda from Co Mayo, who spent his career in Cobh, rising to rank of detective and winning a Scott Medal for bravery along the way.

Name plaque in honour of Richard's grandparents
Name plaque in honour of Richard's grandparents

Given the strong connection with Cobh, Richard is very sorry to sell the house which he initially rented out to visiting artists, as his background is in the arts sector. As curator of the Richard Scott Sculpture Gallery, he runs pop-up galleries and has organised a sculpture gallery in the grounds of Ballymaloe House for the past number of years.

“I am very sorry to let it go, but I am also excited at the prospect of someone else getting to live in the terrace. It’s such a great community, real old Cobh, he says, even home to one or two of Cobh’s most famous faces.

He’s also sorry to wave goodbye to the view from the upstairs living room, and to the scene at the rear, the beautiful Bible Garden of St Benedict’s Priory, which can be enjoyed from a raised deck, reached via French doors.

View over the rooftops
View over the rooftops

"I feel like it’s the right time to hand over the baton. I’d just love for a young couple to get a good start in life in it,” he says.

Johanna Murphy of Johanna Murphy & Sons is the selling agent - she previously sold No 3 Roches Terrace in 2017 for €224,500. It was also an upside house, extensively renovated by the people who bought it in 2015 for €76,000. Ms Murphy is guiding No 4 at €270,000.

She says it’s “charming and sophisticated and tranquil” and just a 10 minute walk from the town centre.

VERDICT: A petite gem with terrific harbour views. Ideal starter home, or for a couple downsizing into town. 

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