This four-bed coach house dates from the 1780s and renovations make it 21st century, says Tommy Barker.
Best feature: real rail history
There’s very old history, and some more recent history, with the Coachhouse, at Bellevue Villas in Cork’s Tivoli.
Built of old sandstone and backing into a quarried-out red sandstone cliff facing south over Cork’s River Lee and the Marina at Tivoli just east of the city centre, this quality conversion in a hideaway, glen-like setting is said to predate the three quite grand 1840s-built terrace properties at Bellevue Villas (pictured, centre).
One estimate is that this mews/coach house dates to 1780s, and was originally two artisan dwellings.
All four properties still standing proudly here were restored in the late 1990s and early 2000s by engineer Peter Haughton, and his wife Gaye, who later sold them on individually.
Originally almost locked-in by a rail line, they are now reached via a modern private bridge, plus Victorian pedestrian overbridge, over the Cork-Cobh/Midleton rail line to this verdant enclave.
So while the low-slung coachhouse and its three taller, triplet terraced cousins have real roots back to the early and even pre-dating the rail line’s arrival, their more recent history has already gone down in local folklore.
It’s understood that the bridge which serves just this elite few homes cost Irish Rail a whopping €15m to build, passing as it does up and over the Tivoli roadway.
It’s an enormous cost, but Irish Rail’s moves to do away with level crossings wherever possible, plus a very distinct 19th century covenant guaranteeing safe passage to Bellevue Villas and this coachhouse when the rail line annexed their front grounds, left them with little option. (Having said that, the several dozen homes immediately to the west at Myrtle Hill still need pedestrians and cars to traverse an automatic level crossing.)
Anyway, it’s an eye-watering cost as an access drive, and it’s a tale likely to be told and retold by the next owners of this coachhouse at dinner parties, who can add the rider that it’s CIE’s responsibility to maintain the bridge and access to the property.
Having been previously on the market back in 2009, and then guiding €450,000, the coachhouse is back for sale as 2016 winds to an end. Selling agent is Kate Kearney of DNG Condon, and she guides now at €320,000, saying the cliff to the north creates virtually a sheltering micro-climate for the gardens, with outdoor seating/BBQ areas and ferns to the back with some arbutus trees also among the quite dense greenery.
This two-storey stone building was initially renovated and rescued by Peter Haughton who’d found it with trees growing out of its roof in the 1990s, and he sourced much of the age-appropriate and visually at-home architectural salvage for its recreation, including fireplaces, black cast iron radiators, cast iron bath, timbers and more.
DNG Condon’s Kate Kearney says it’s “truly an old world property, capturing the character and charm of bygone days, with the benefit of modern living. It’s a home with history and stories galore, and must be seen to be appreciated”.
Past its Georgian doorcase entrance, it has got two reception rooms, each with a fireplace and window mouldings, a kitchen/dining room, back hall, utility, bed four, guest bathroom and overhead are three bedrooms, divided by a split staircase rescued from a Youghal convent, and the main bathroom now has a gothic-style window, with coloured glass panes.
Verdict: Restoration was right on track
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