Dreamy home on Cork's Blackrock Road on the market for €1.295m
Moxley House, Blackrock Road, Cork city €1.295m
Solicitor Angela McCarthy knows all about the power of location. Before she owned Moxley House in Cork's upmarket suburb of Blackrock, she lived in a beautiful house with a swimming pool in the seaside town of Crosshaven.
Yes, she says, it was idyllic. "The views were fab - but for nine months of the year, I never actually got to see the scenery in daytime." She was in the car commuting to Cork or beyond, leaving before it got bright in the morning and arriving home after dark.
So next time around, she bought in the city.
"This house and the area are ideal for kids. There is a bus stop across the road, and another 20 metres down the road and there are great schools nearby."
In fact, there is a school to suit every outlook, including Presentation, Christian Brothers School, Colaiste Daibheid, while Ashton School is across the road and it's a five minute's walk from St Anthony's NS.
The house was in a poor state when Angela and family bought it 20 years ago and required a complete overhaul but in the process, they made some interesting discoveries - the type that only a period property can yield. Beneath the ground floor, the builders found fine arched sewers - happily no longer in active use - dating back to the 1830s when the house was built. Potential buyers will be relieved to hear that they have been sealed and filled in.
Elsewhere in the five-bed semi-detached property, there are signs of its former use. It once served as the rectory for the clergy of St Nicholas Church, near South Gate Bridge, and ecclesiastical flourishes still survive - the window on one of the returns has an exquisite stained glass border made by the anonymous artist who fashioned the windows of Shandon Church - it is the only repeat of the pattern known. In the hallway, the Victorian tiled floor, arched stained-glass window and polished wood doors with barleysugar detail on the architraves all point back to the property's rectory roots.
The house has all the trimmings needed for formal entertaining on a grand scale - and has certainly been well tested in that department.
There's a drawing room with the original fireplace, ceiling coving and a bay window that opens to the patio so that guests can pour out of doors on summer evenings.
"We put a gazebo up over the patio sometimes so we can have that extra space," says Angela. The interlinked dining room is equally grand and boasts an antique limited edition Colefax & Fowler wallpaper suited to its age. It has the benefit of a butler's pantry with plenty of storage for the busy host to keep meals warming.
Angela built on a modern one-storey extension that comprises a large and comfortable kitchen/dining/living area that also opens to the garden. Like many an extension to a period property, it has re-orientated the house towards the south-facing back garden, and away from the road to the front. There are two patio areas on which to enjoy the soft Cork summer evenings as well as mature trees that shield the house both from neighbouring eyes and the sound of traffic.
The kitchen is large and geared to entertaining with along one wall, a Rangemaster cooker, and a built-in Gaggenau oven as well as an integrated gas hob in the big granite-topped island. There's also an intriguing feature in the guest WC - a larger-than-life chess set to occupy the user.
On the first floor, there are two bedrooms, both large and both with en suites and fireplaces. The third potential bedroom on this floor is used as Angela's study and is a fine, large book-lined space from which to contemplate the world.
Up another floor are three more bedrooms, a shower room and that glorious American innovation - a large upper-storey laundry room - which means no traipsing up and downstairs with baskets of washing.
"It's a fabulous house if you have people living in it," says Angela, but her three children are all grown up now and she is downsizing.
She hopes to stay local and is on the hunt for a smaller house in the city to revamp.
"We've been 20 years making memories here," says Angela, of moving on. "I'll miss the beautiful back garden - when you stand there, you can't hear a single car because it's so big."
It is that very fact that will be one of the big draws for potential buyers - a large, family house with fine period details and a large garden within three minutes' drive of the centre of Cork.
Size: 344.3 sqm
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald Cork (021) 427 3041
Viewing: By appointment