Blackrock Road beauty at Clonard
Tommy Barker views a four-storey beauty which has been enhanced by its previous owners on Cork’s Blackrock Road
The location of 2 Clonard, at the city end of Cork city’s Blackrock Road, holds a powerful sway over its last several owners. The last two owners all stayed on the road, one taking on a renovation challenge, tacking another Victorian build, while another built brand new, a big detached house on a garden site about 20 years ago.
Now its current occupant — here since 1995 — is selling to trade down from this four-storey beauty, enhanced in each of its several ownerships since the 1980s, and she too hopes to find a place to move to on, or just off, the Blackrock Road.
One half of an elegant pair of c 1880s Victorian semis, No 2 Clonard is fresh to market, in tip-top order over all four levels, and is guided at €650,000 by estate agent Michael O’ Donovan of S av ills, who says it has benefited from sensitive restoration, conservation of original features, and is in walk-in order, all within a short walk of the city, and many amenities.
The other half of this attractive duo, No 1 Clonard, was up for sale in April 2014, guided at €575,000 and featured here as a House of the Week, but its owners decided to say and invest further in No 1. So, those who had a hankering three years ago for Clonard can now check out this other half instead.
Set just past Ashton, it’s in good company: some houses in the vicinity sell for millions, and an immaculately-restored similar era semi-d just a few doors away, called Allevard, shows on the Price Register in late 2016 as a sale at €870,000. Allevard had been in ten flats up to a few years ago, before getting a costly makeover, which included a basement level home cinema.
Also over-basement, or lower ground level, are Clonard’s duo, with limestone steps bridge over what Mr O’Donovan describes as a dry moat, running across the front of this pair.
This low-down, set-back allows lots of light to flow in from front, facing full south and balmy, and No 2’s owner has planted it attract- ively so that there’s an engaging view from this bottom, lower-most level kitchen. And, she adds, it’s when she came to view this house all of 22 years ago and saw this kitchen, it was the clincher for her in her decision to buy and move in.
The lower ground level is almost a home in its own right, with connected kitchen/breakfast room facing south and there’s a rear family/living room with back patio garden access.
Also at lower ground level is a hall, bright thank to a gable wall window, a guest WC, and a large pantry/utility.
Up above, at main entry level, are two interconnected reception rooms, one front, one rear, each close to 13’ square, with 10’ high ceilings and original, hinged solid timber double doors. The front room has an attractive original period fireplace, with highly glazed green ceramic tile insert, while ceilings are coved, and floors are original pine boards, well sanded and sealed.
Michael O’Donovan says No 2 has “exquisite, light-filled accommodation,” and its window are redone, double glazed sashes, with working shutters.
Those shutters come in particularly handy in the first floor main bedroom/boudoir: as a complete surprise, this room, with whitepainted floor boards and regal purple walls and even a purple ceiling, has a stand-alone cast iron bath in front on one of the two south-facing windows, and there’s also a wash stand and sink. It’s different, to be sure, and the owner says it was the making of the room for her.
Also at this first floor level is a second bedroom, plus shower rooms/WC, and the top floor has two more dormer-style bedrooms, equally full of character with some exposed beams.
Renovation work includes plumbing, windows and rewiring, it has gas central heating and a good BER for its period and, critically for a house of this age (it’s about 130 years old), the drains have been replaced: No 2 stands straight as a die, straight up.
Externally, its boundary to the Blackrock Road is an aesthetically pleasant mix of limestone and redbrick. Its front garden is in two sections with gravel drive with parking for two cars and a second, more private, screened section behind hedging has a lawn and sunny sitting-out space.
There’s good side access to the north-facing rear garden/courtyard, fully walled-in and decked out for sitting outdoor and BBQs, and it is well adorned with artistic touches and flourishes on its walls.
Surfaces include a patio with old slate inset into a concrete base, brick seating area, gravel, and chunky slate/limestone stepping stones, with perimeter planting and landscaping. It gets its best sunlight in the morning and in the late evening, and is a great spot for entertaining.
“My children have had great gatherings and parties here down the years... mostly when I’ve been away,” she admits with an appreciative laugh. VERDICT: Full of life and joie de vivre.
Blackrock Road, Cork City €650,000 Size: 168 sq m (1,800 sq ft) Bedrooms: 4 Bathrooms: 3 BER: E2