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