Tommy Barker


Irish Examiner - Property & Interiors - - Property -

It’s June — what else would you want to be pick­ing, only straw­ber­ries? This one is a small, sweet and fruity beauty, with a 145-year pedi­gree. Just re­cently on the mar­ket, in time for June’s sun­shine and show­ers, is 4 Straw­berry Hill, an older, Vic­to­rian style, slen­der de­tached home on a corner site onto Shanakiel Road, bask­ing in a south-fac­ing corner above Cork’s gen­teel Sun­day’s Well and close to the old City Gaol visi­tor at­trac­tion.

That puts it within an easy down­hill am­ble of the Mardyke, UCC, and Fitzger­ald Park via the Shaky Bridge. The city cen­tre’s a walk away to the east, while up and over Shanakiel’s hill, is Cork’s largest em­ployer — the ex­pand­ing Apple plant by Hol­ly­hill.

Es­tate agent An­drew Moore is now sell­ing the gen­tly nudged-into-the-21st-cen­tury No 4 Straw­berry Hill for its ap­pre­cia­tive own­ers, who bought for the lo­ca­tion and views, and now they are pass­ing it on, in good, turnkey or­der, to oth­ers who’ll be of sim­i­lar mind.

Mr Moore reck­ons this ven­er­a­ble sub­urb “is, un­ques­tion­ably, one of the city’s most sought-af­ter res­i­den­tial ar­eas, a pleas­ant and peace­ful neigh­bour­hood, with an abun­dance of un­spoilt ar­chi­tec­tural and his­tor­i­cal her­itage.”

He guides the mod­est-sized (it’s only about 1,000 sq ft) three-bed de­tached at €390,000 and dates its con­struc­tion to about 1870.

Thanks to its lower tier of gar­dens and sur­round­ing green fo­liage, “this city home has a coun­try house feel, with lots of el­bow room and a slightly con­ti­nen­tal twist,” Andy Moore says. And he adds that it also had up­dates and over­hauls to bring it to modern com­fort lev­els.

Its age and build con­demns it at present to a F BER, but it does have dou­ble glaz­ing and gas cen­tral heat­ing, and the fea­ture ex­posed brick and arched main chim­ney-piece is now host to a wood-burn­ing stove.

Given that this main 16’ by 13’ room has now colonised where the cen­tral en­trance hall would have been, and also has the stair­case to the up­per lev­els three bed­rooms tucked into a corner, one can imag­ine this stove heat­ing a whole heap of house once all fired up.

See­ing as how the main front door now opens di­rectly into the liv­ing space, the addition of a small glazed porch on the out­side was a sen­si­ble move too.

There’s an easy flow from the main liv­ing space to the rear kitchen via an open arch, with a straight run of Shak­er­style units.

The rear pa­tio/gar­den with stone flags can be ac­cessed via glazed dou­ble doors: it’s a sun trap for evening heat, says Mr Moore, and is shel­tered from the north by a high stone wall and tim­ber struc­ture bound­ary, which is part of a quirky neigh­bour­ing home’s struc­ture.

Sep­a­rately, there’s a more slen­der sit­ting room, al­most 10’ by 16’, util­ity and bath­room with bath, and up­stairs there is a shower room and three com­pact bed­rooms, two of which have win­dows to the south, and one has a westerly as­pect look­ing over Straw­berry Hill.

Hand­ily for the Sun­day’s Well area, where get­ting off- street park­ing can be prob­lem­atic, No 4 Straw­berry Hill has a grav­elled park­ing sec­tion for sev­eral cars just in front of the house, and the gar­dens then run down to the south from the en­trance.

Andy Moore says No 4’s el­e­vated po­si­tion and southerly as­pect means the su­per-con­ve­niently set house is bright all day long. And while it has had modern en­hance­ments, lots of orig­i­nal­ity has been re­tained, such as the wooden lad­der­back doors, fire­places etc.

Over­all con­di­tion is good, and it’s a walk-in job for a new owner, who just has to top the bid­ding to get over the thresh­old.

At its junc­tion of Straw­berry Hill and Shanakiel Road, No 4’s just one ex­am­ple of the ran­dom, di­verse, and at­trac­tive hous­ing mix in this up­per-tier sec­tion of the city with wide panoramic views.

VER­DICT: Straw­berry feels for­ever.

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