Shaking the barley

WHY Whitechurch? One of the freshest, most cutting edge housing estates hits the market this week in the hamlet north of Cork city.

And it could be said Barleyfield is hiding its light under a bushel — tucked away as it is in a rural village five miles from town.

The scheme is the brainchild of local landowners, Dan and Bláithnaid Buckley, who began developing on their own land some years ago.

Barleyfield is their latest scheme, but this time round they have gone for a high-end and expensive build.

Reddy O’Riordan Staehli, a highly-regarded and award-winning firm of architects were contracted for the design which puts the scheme head and shoulders above others in the south. It’s on a design par with the Sheen Falls lodges in Co Kerry, holiday homes with an average price in excess of 1m.

So why go to all the trouble? Because, perhaps, builders Dan Buckley Whitechurch (DBW) wanted to test their mettle, or because they take pride in their work? Either way, they’ve produced a scheme that will raise the bar for new developments all over the region.

There were teething problems, however, and the application went to An Bórd Pleanála, but now the first six houses in a planned, 29-unit scheme are well under way and the showhouse opens this weekend.

It is, as the brochure says, a new dimension in house-building.

According to Robert Harkin of Countrywide Homes, estates of solely, detached houses like Barleyfield, will no longer be allowed by council planners:

“There’s nothing like this in the city or county and it’s an estate of only, detached residences with no mix of house types — it’s what makes it different. And of course, the design and spec is way above average.”

Developers, DBW, could have gone the cheaper route with a more generic design and a cheaper finish; instead, and fair dues, they’ve produced houses with an ideal, single-depth layout, with a number of aspects and a finish that combines the timelessness of stone, with a crisp, plaster finish.

Dormers, gutters and down pipes are zinc, while grounds are finished in grey sandstone and stone walling. There has been an exacting attention to detail at Barleyfield and while the showhouse is ready, the bones of the other houses are on plain to see.

There are four types, the A, B and C and D and prices will range from €700,000 to €900,000 fully inclusive of a range of high-end fittings.

Robert Harkin is prepared to negotiate with prospective buyers and there will be a lot of flexibility in regard to finishes, but Barleyfield comes as a complete package, which the showhouse demonstrates.

It will open this weekend from 2.00pm to 4.30pm Saturday and Sunday only — from thereafter, it’s strictly by appointment.


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