Tuesday 11 December 2018

Ex-home of a Dutch ambassador to Ireland sees €95,000 drop in price

Providence Manor Leap, West Cork: €450,000

Sitting room at Providence Manor in Leap, West Cork
Sitting room at Providence Manor in Leap, West Cork

Words by Katy McGuinness

West Cork was in the news recently when two out of the three new Michelin stars awarded to Ireland for 2019 went to Mews in Baltimore and The Chestnut in Ballydehob, with the third going to Takashi Miyazaki's ichigo ichie in Cork City. It was an affirmation of what food folk have known for years - that Co Cork is the true food capital of Ireland.

For gourmets on the hunt for a residence within striking distance of plenty of good eating, with the potential of built-in additional income as a bonus - tourism (including food tourism) is on the up in these parts - then Dr Peter Moore's interesting property at Providence Manor, near the vibrant village of Leap (pronounced 'lepp') will be of interest.

Born in South Africa of Irish parents, Peter spent his career as a medical doctor working all around over the world, including South Korea. He always planned to retire to Ireland and wanted a 'two in one' property that could also accommodate his sister and her husband, in an independent home on the same site.

"I didn't want to be in Dublin, because that's just another big city," he explains, "but I did want to be close to an airport because of connectivity. So, I settled on Cork because of the frequent flights to Heathrow and started looking for suitable properties within an hour's commute of the airport. Providence Manor was only one of three or four properties that ticked all the boxes, and I purchased it nine years ago."

The kitchen at Providence Manor in Leap, West Cork
The kitchen at Providence Manor in Leap, West Cork

Peter set about a full refurbishment that involved effectively gutting the property and re-doing the roof, floors, plumbing, electrics and central heating. He installed underfloor heating in most of the rooms and put in PVC double-glazed windows. He also used a German system of exterior insulation that adds a four-inch thick layer to the outer walls, which are then rendered.

The result is two comfortable adjacent homes in excellent condition on the same site. The main house, to the left in the photograph, has a sunroom, sitting room, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom on the ground floor. The sitting room has a large inglenook fireplace with a multi-fuel stove and there are beamed ceilings and other features sympathetic to the property's farmhouse origins. Upstairs, there are two bedrooms, one of which is en-suite.

The smaller guest annex has a sitting room, kitchen, utility room, double bedroom, bathroom and mezzanine area that could be used either as sleeping accommodation or a home office. This has obvious rental potential.

Providence Manor, which was once home to the Dutch ambassador to Ireland, dates from the early 1900s and is said to have operated as a safe house during the War of Independence. During the renovations of the upstairs part of the main house, workers found a false wall that appeared to conceal a hiding place and there are rumours that Michael Collins was one of those who were hidden here.

Bathroom at Providence Manor in Leap, West Cork
Bathroom at Providence Manor in Leap, West Cork

"Neighbours have told me that the building that is now the second house used to be a barn and was used for informal court hearings when they brought in informers," says Peter.

Outside there is a detached four-car garage that could perhaps be used for other purposes, subject to planning permission, and additional outbuildings that could be converted into additional accommodation. The beautifully landscaped gardens have clearly been a labour of love for Peter. There's a sunny south-west facing patio, a glasshouse, raised beds and a hen coop, and Peter is able to harvest fruit and berries without having to leave the plot.

On of the bedrooms at Providence Manor in Leap, West Cork
On of the bedrooms at Providence Manor in Leap, West Cork

"Even though it's a very countrified setting," he says, "Leap is only 3km away and there are some great bars and restaurants there, including the Harbour Bar and the Leap Inn. There are gorgeous beaches for walking dogs - my favourite is Owenahincha, near Roscarberry, Glandore is a 10-minute drive and, in Union Hall we have the best fish shop in the country. It's a great place to live."

Peter says that he is a very bad golfer, so has little use for the courses in the area, and neither is he a sailor, unlike many of his neighbours, who relish the delights of the summer season. Now that Peter's sister and her husband have moved to be closer to their grandchildren, Peter is keen to downsize.

Providence Manor in Leap, West Cork, which was fully refurbished eight years ago
Providence Manor in Leap, West Cork, which was fully refurbished eight years ago

Providence Manor was formerly on the market with another agent asking €545,000, against which the current €450,000 looks to be a significant reduction. It's yet another example of the value to be found outside Dublin and the capital's sprawling commuter belt.

Era: Early 19th Century

Size: 245sqm

Agent: Sherry FitzGerald O'Neill (023) 883 3995

Sunday Independent

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