Tommy Barker


Irish Examiner - Property & Interiors - - Property -

ASMOKING-HOT ren­o­va­tion job, un­der a seamed cop­per-clad roof, has been done to this Aglish, Far­ran, fam­ily home of dis­tinc­tion, and which has risen up from once-hum­ble es­tate cot­tage roots. wholly-mod­ern makeover has been com­pleted by the cur­rent own­ers of the size­able, 2,800 sq ft five-bed home, which started off its life as a semi-de­tached worker’s cot­tage on the sprawl­ing and his­toric Far­ran House es­tate.

Set just a few miles west of Cork city and Ballincol­lig, Far­ran House it­self dates back at least 200 years, and in its ear­lier days it was owned by the Pen­rose fam­ily, and later, from 1868, by Wil­liam Clarke.

Clarke was a ma­jor to­bacco and cigar mer­chant, and the fam­ily came from Liver­pool, first to east Cork and then in the mid-1800s switched to Far­ran, where at one stage they owned up to 5,000 acres of land. The Clarke fam­ily main­tained lo­cal Far­ran links over three gen­er­a­tions, up to the 1970s, and what’s now the pub­lic amenity Far­ran Woods was once part of their es­tate.

Such acreage and 19th cen­tury agri­cul­ture ne­ces­si­tated a large work­force, and many dwellings for them, of which this be­guil­ing and in­trigu­ing new-to-market of­fer is but one. Orig­i­nally a mod­est ‘two up, two down’ coun­try cot­tage, it was taken on as a ren­o­va­tion and ex­ten­sion project by a young cou­ple, Ken Davis and Amanda Corn­house, in the early 2000s.

He and Amanda did the work here in two stages, first do­ing a sim­ple kitchen ex­ten­sion in 2001, and then go­ing large and more ex­trav­a­gantly so in 2003, when they added on a whole new wing, all topped with a pressed metal cop­per roof.... lots, and lots, of cop­per.

Their much worked upon and trans­formed home is fresh to market, listed at €425,000 by es­tate agent Norma Healy of Sherry Fitzger­ald; she has the sec­ond of a set of planned open view­ings at this property to­day, at 1.30pm, and al­ready cu­rios­ity lev­els among hope­ful view­ers are high.

She says the five-bed, two-storey home has both char­ac­ter and qual­ity, as well as a sur­pris­ing amount of space, and the price guide is pos­si­bly on the mod­est end of the scale, but re- flects the fact that it is semi-de­tached, next to an­other up­graded ‘other half’ home, whilst well-screened from it by ma­ture boundaries.

It’s on a half acre of land­scaped, coun­try-set grounds with ma­ture trees, and its roof which is a mix of cop­per and slate on dif­fer­ent sec­tions blends in, as does the cop­per gut­ters and drain­pipes, ex­panse of tim­ber cladding, and vast quan­ti­ties of Valen­tia stone, more than 20 tonnes, which hand­son builder Ken fer­ried up by truck and trail­ers from the Kerry is­land quarry.

That Valen­tia stone adorns the en­trance pil­lars, low ap­proach wall and part of the new ex­ten­sion’s fa­cade, which also is part fin­ished in ver­ti­cal strip treated tim­bers, and also glimpsed on the ap­proach is the front gable bed­room’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ style bal­cony, hint­ing at sur­prises also within.

In­ter­nally, it has its rooms off a central hall and fits in a 21’ by 15’ lounge, kitchen, play­room, study, and util­ity, with a din­ing room open­ing to the hall and down a step or two, part-di­vided off by a sim­ple stain­less steel with ten­sioned wires, with a stove fac­ing the din­ing table from a hall side wall; the main lounge has a fur­ther wood-burn­ing stove, and a fea­ture wall of glass and glazed doors for gar­den ac­cess.

Over­head are five bed­rooms, all dou­bles and the mas­ter bed­room’s quite the stand-out space, about 21’ by 15’ with high, vaulted ceil­ings and Veluxes and fea­ture steel trusses, cased in oak for an old-style beam ef­fect. It’s a sim­ply dec­o­rated, calm space, with triple as­pect and that bal­cony ac­cess via case­ment French doors, and also has a long, walk-in wardrobe with built-in and very spa­cious en suite bath­room with Jacuzzi bath and a jet shower.

This all-in main bed­room suite takes up al­most half of the top level’s floor area, and a three-piece main fam­ily bath­rooms takes up the wash du­ties for the four other bed­rooms.

Win­dows are tim­ber and dou­ble glazed, Ra­tionel style for the most part, along with some top-hung Veluxes up­stairs, and apart from the two stoves heat­ing is via oil, and the BER’S a de­cent B3.

VER­DICT: Roll up, roll up, for part of the Clarke es­tate.

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