LIFE­STYLE

This home on 1.25 acres is per­fectly set up for fam­ily life with fea­ture gar­dens and fa­cil­i­ties, says Tommy Barker

Irish Examiner - Property & Interiors - - Property -

Hens, ducks, ca­naries, at fam­ily buy

THE cliche about the best way to get some­thing done be­ing to ask an al­ready busy per­son ap­plies, in spades, to this labour of love fam­ily home, gar­dens, and life­style ‘hub’, all just a short spin west of Cork city, over the hill from Wa­ter­fall and Ballincol­lig, and el­e­vated for sur­pris­ingly panoramic views.

Up for sale is the fam­ily home, and fea­ture gar­dens set up for self­suf­fi­ciency, of builder/kitchen maker Barry O’halloran and his wife Bernie, which they built them­selves 20 years ago, and to ex­act­ing stan­dards.

How ex­act­ing? Well, if his join­ery and work­man­ship was good enough to grace mak­ing the ma­hogany gal­ley kitchen for one CJ Haughey’s yacht, the Celtic Mist, many sev­eral decades ago for in­ter­na­tional boat de­signer Ron Hol­land, you can take it this man sets and hits high stan­dards.

Barry’s of an­other gen­er­a­tion of the O’halloran fam­ily that built de­vel­op­ments in Cork’s sub­urbs like Haldene. And, as well as dip­ping in and out of house build­ing and ex­ten­sions, at one stage, the cou­ple’s O’halloran kitchen and built-ins com­pany em­ployed 15, out of a fac­tory and show­room built by their pre­vi­ous home in Cross­barry.

Oh, and when not build­ing gar­den fea­tures, Barry also writes and plays mu­sic pro­fes­sion­ally, while Bernie’s a lynch-pin of the lo­cal par­ish coun­cil, and a bridge teacher, and the plan­ner of gar­den projects for Barry, just in case he’s ever quiet.

Back in 1996, they strolled up the hill and showed a field of cat­tle graz­ing to one of their sons; he knew im­me­di­ately what was com­ing, a trad­ing-up home for the clan, with a 180-de­gree views over the Owenabue val­ley be­tween Halfway and In­nis­han­non, with Sheehy Moun­tain vis­i­ble to the west on the Cork-kerry bor­der.

It hap­pened in jig-time and now, all of a sudden with an empty nest (ex­cept for when the grand­chil­dren are around, and when Bernie’s not pro­fes­sion­ally child­mind­ing) and hav­ing marched up the hill, the qui­etly dy­namic, hos­pitable and en­ter­taing cou­ple are march­ing back down again, to build a smaller home, on a quar­ter acre, back where they started.

It’s all mov­ing in small cir­cles, they laugh, and are look­ing for­ward to down­siz­ing, but they’ll still have a quar­ter acre, and they’ll take their 20 pro­duc­tively lay­ing chick­ens and 10 ducks, with them. The sweetly chirp­ing ca­naries, and the finches from the aviary, will go with them too, as will the dog and the cat.

Left be­hind will be a pro­duc­tive gar­den in tiers with veg and fruit sec­tions, 25’ long poly­tun­nel with Nec­tarine tree, or­chard and sev­eral paved and decked sit­ting out ar­eas, plus water fea­tures, and de­tached garage, stores, and a home­of­fice/den/mu­sic room, which adds about 350 sq ft more space to a very de­cep­tively large 3,800 sq ft main res­i­dence.

It’s de­cep­tive be­cause it is so deep, and is en­tirely ac­com­mo­dat­ing over its two lev­els, broad ground floor, and dormer up­per, with top tim­bers used, more built- ins than you could shake a wooden spoon at, and a high-end, be­spoke kitchen and is­land in a time­less, an­tique har­vest oak, with bar­ley twist fea­tures, gran­ite tops, Belfast sink and Stan­ley range, plus a bank of reg­u­lar ovens and in­te­grated ap­pli­ances.

There are two in­ter­con­nect­ing re­cep­tion rooms at one end, the only two rooms in the en­tire house with car­pets, kept for ‘good use,’ par­ties, mu­sic mak­ing, and card nights/bridge school, and there’s a fur­ther large liv­ing room off the kitchen, south-fac­ing, with maple floor and pa­tio ac­cess.

A scene set­ter is the hall, floored in oak with rose­wood trim, and the sweep­ing oak stair­case is a work of art, curv­ing and carved and turns with rose­wood in­lay de­tails. It was done by Black­pool-based crafts­man Ce­cil Whit­ford, one of the few jobs that Barry con­tracted out be­cause he so ad­mired mr whit ford’ s de­sign and de­liv­ery abil­ity.

The hall’s also home to a large Stan­ley wood-burn­ing stove with the flue run­ning up past the land­ing for ex­tract­ing ev­ery last cal- orie of heat. Since the stove went in, heat­ing bills have plum­meted, with less than a tank of oil used for other heat­ing tasks, while two of the re­cep­tion rooms have an­tiquestyle fire­places, from Tin­tean Fire­places in Bal­lyvour­ney.

Apart fromthe three big re­cep­tions, and kitchen/din­ing with bay win­dow for southerly vis­tas, plus large util­ity, there’s a ground floor bed­room with built-ins, next to a study, a guest WC and a fam­ily bath­room with bath.

Over­head are four more, well kit­ted-out dou­ble bed­rooms, one’s the mas­ter with dou­ble as­pect, with dress­ing ta­ble to match the built-ins, and en suite and walk in wardrobe. Then, there’s a fur­ther full bath­room with Jacuzzi jet bath and sep­a­rate shower, off a land­ing with fea­ture curved wall, and ev­ery square inch is spot­less.

Sell­ing agent for this ex­pan­sive fam­ily home is Frank Walsh of O’ma­hony Walsh in Ballincol­lig, and he guides the en­tire lot, on 1.25 acres at €595,000, not­ing it’s eas­ily reached from the Ballincol­lig di­rec­tion as well as from the west­ern sub­urbs, Kin­sale, and Ban­don.

Set up for fam­ily liv­ing and play­ing, ac­ces­si­ble and with in­cred­i­ble views and ex­cep­tion­ally fin­ished in­side and out­side, it of­fers Mr Walsh says “a fan­tas­tic, one-off op­por­tu­nity for pur­chasers to trade up to the ideal in coun­try liv­ing”.

Set to trade down, Barry and Bernie O’halloran say that af­ter all the thought and work that went into the land­scap­ing and plant­ing, pa­tios and pro­ject­ing el­e­vated view­ing deck, it’s now a sur­pris­ingly easy place to keep on top of, suit­able for gen­er­a­tions of fam­ily.

As well as do­ing all they did, and rear­ing four chil­dren here, the cou­ple also cared at home for their re­spec­tive moth­ers, in a set up that could make for a mu­si­cal soap opera. One Nana loved Daniel O’don­nell, and played his mu­sic all the time. The other Nana couldn’t stand Daniel or his mu­sic, so they amused them­selves, and played their own mu­sic of per­sonal taste, in liv­ing rooms at op­po­site sides of the house.

VER­DICT: Now, that’s what you call ac­com­mo­dat­ing.

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