Felicitous Kendal ideal for an acre in Douglas
A luxury home with huge gardens nestled in Cork City's eminent suburb of Douglas
There was a time when Douglas, on the outskirts of Cork city, was a quiet village populated by industrious Huguenot weavers and their descendants who spent their days making sailcloth for the Royal Navy.
"The environs of Douglas are exceedingly pleasant and the scenery richly diversified and embellished with numerous elegant seats and tasteful villas." That was how the locality was described in Samuel Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland in 1837.
But the village has been utterly transformed since those days. Douglas has been a teeming suburb of Cork for several decades now, full of wide and sprawling roads and housing estates, and the scenery can no longer be described as "richly diversified", except in so far as there's more than one shopping centre and more than one golf course.
As one of Cork's more affluent suburbs, though, Douglas is still embellished with numerous opulent houses and villas, tasteful and otherwise.
One of the "elegant seats" described in Lewis's topography was Douglas House at Maryborough Hill, which still stands, although nowadays it's in apartments. And what was once the avenue leading up to Douglas House is now the setting of Oakwood, a small, exclusive development of six detached millionaire homes, for the new rich live on the driveways of the old.
Undoubtedly, Oakwood's most famous inhabitant is Ronan O'Gara. The former rugby star moved to Paris with his wife and family in 2013, but they kept the Oakwood house as their Cork base. Two doors down from the O'Gara's home is Number 3 Oakwood, known as 'Kendal', on an elevated site of just under an acre, with a driveway sloping sharply down to the street.
The property was built about 15 years ago, having been designed by the architect Bill Brady, whose father took over the venerable old Cork firm of WH Hill & Son back in the 1940s.
It's 3,562 sq ft in size, with four bedrooms and three reception rooms, and these are all good-sized rooms - there isn't a single poky nook in the place.
In fact, to say no expense was spared in the build or the finish of the house would be an understatement. This becomes apparent as soon as you enter the hallway, which measures over 26ft by 10ft.
A flight of steps rises in the entrance hall towards the rooms at the back of the house, and up to the main staircase - open-string, naturally, as closed-string staircases are cheaper and look it.
The staircase has an Iroko (African teak) handrail and treads, and panelled walls rising alongside.
The staircase and, indeed, all the joinery - floors, windows, doors and panelling - were crafted by the highly-regarded carpenter Jim Barry. The floors on the lower level are all done in American white oak, and the reception rooms have 10ft-high ceilings.
The hallway is open-plan by means of wide archways to reception rooms either side. One is a lounge and dining room with a fireplace, and the other is a living room with another fireplace and fitted bookshelves.
There's also a family room with a bow window and French doors to the garden, and this room opens directly into the kitchen, where there are pale painted cabinets with granite worktops, integrated appliances, and a centre island with an oak chopping board.
Double doors give on to the terrace outside, and there's also a utility room off the kitchen - unusually large for such a room, at 14ft by over 9ft. Finally on the ground floor there's a guest toilet in the hallway and a store room under the stairs.
Up on the first floor are the four bedrooms, all with en-suite shower rooms. The master bedroom measures almost 23ft by 17ft and has a bow window looking towards the city. It has a bath as well as a separate shower in its en-suite, and there's a shelved dressing area.
The house is on 0.9 of an acre, set behind remote-controlled gates, and the driveway is tarmacadam and leads to a forecourt for parking.
The gardens have been landscaped with lawns, low-walled flowerbeds and closely-planted shrubs, and the back garden, which faces south, has a patio and a second raised seating area up a flight of stone steps.
From the utility room downstairs you can reach, via a covered archway, a boiler house and store room. The house also has a zoned gas-fired heating system, and an energy rating of D1.
This part of town is about five kilometres from Cork city centre (the Number 220 bus stops around the corner at Maryborough Hill), and about 10 minutes' drive from the airport. You can reach the centre of Douglas village itself in about 10 minutes on foot, and find schools, restaurants, shopping, a cinema, and a farmers' market every Sunday.
For golfers, the nearest course is so convenient that you could amble over with your clubs when the mood strikes. The 18-hole Douglas Golf Club is less than half a kilometre away at Maryborough Hill.
3 Oakwood Douglas, Cork
Asking price: €1.75m
Agent: Cohalan Downing, (021) 427 7717