Luxury €1.5m Cork home boasts walled orchards and extensive grounds
Maryborough House was once among the most notable landed estates in Douglas, near Cork, built in the 18th century by one of the city's merchant princes, Richard Newenham.
The Maryborough estate remains a model of prosperity to this day, but of a much more modern kind. The stately home has been turned into a four-star hotel and spa, and its nearby walled orchard has been given over to an exclusive development of 15 millionaire homes in one of Cork's most affluent suburbs.
There may be some pitfalls associated with living in the grounds of a hotel, but the obvious one - a lack of privacy - doesn't seem to pertain here. Maryborough Orchard is a 'gated community', reached by going in the hotel's main entrance at Maryborough Hill, and then veering right.
Orchard House, or Number 3 Maryborough Orchard, is even further sequestered by means of its own set of remote-control electric gates. Door-to-door salesmen and junk mail monkeys will surely never be determined enough to get in.
Despite the Georgian heritage of the Maryborough estate, 'Orchard House' is an homage to a later period. Built in 2005, it was designed by an architect whose brief was to create a facsimile of a Victorian house.
For that reason, it's unlikely to appeal to those who prefer their architecture to reflect up-to-the-minute ideas. However, there are plenty of wealthy buyers who like nothing better than a well-executed replica, which Orchard House certainly is. And a replica can also offer the 21st-century convenience of a B2 energy rating - something that even the most lavishly retrofitted Victorian original would struggle to achieve.
Reproduction period features include ornamental fascia, ceiling cornicing, PVC sash windows, and Farrow & Ball paint colours. Modern features include under-floor heating on the first two floors, with zoned heating in every room, a central vacuum system, and the last word in kitchen appliances.
Orchard House was last sold in 2010, for €1.525 million, according to the Property Price Register. Reports said at the time that the buyer, who is based in China, agreed the sale without even seeing the house, and she has rarely used it in the nearly five years since then. As a result, the house is still in mint condition, and you have 'vacant possession', as the estate agents have it.
It's an extravagant 5,002 sq ft in size, on three floors, with five en-suite bedrooms and an embarrassment of living rooms.
A small porch leads you into the entrance hall, where there's antique Spanish marble flooring and an open-string staircase rising to the two floors above.
Left of the entrance hall is a large drawing room measuring just under 28 ft by 16 ft, with walnut flooring, a marble fireplace and a bay window. To the right of the hall there's a playroom, also with a bay window, and a small study.
The kitchen and breakfast room, also with antique Spanish marble flooring, form part of a vast split-level living area at the back of the house, with French doors to the garden.
The kitchen includes a maple island unit, a larder incorporating an American-style fridge and freezer, and hand-painted cabinets. The six-burner cooker is extravagant enough to humble all but the most accomplished chefs, with a wok burner, two ovens and barbecue coals. And if all that paraphernalia fails to improve your cooking skills, you can always pop over to Bellini's Restaurant in the Maryborough Hotel for roasted pork bellies.
There are two more reception rooms off the kitchen - a family room down three steps to the left, with walnut flooring and a marble fireplace, and a sun room at the back, also down three steps, with a wood-burning stove and another set of doors to the garden.
There's also a utility room off the kitchen, and a guest toilet at the end of the hallway on the ground floor.
The first floor has four good-sized bedrooms, including the 20 ft by 16 ft master bedroom with a bay window at the front. Adjoining it is a dressing room big enough for a film star, at almost 16 ft long. The master en-suite is also roomy, at almost 12 ft by 15 ft, and has a sunken Jacuzzi bath in a raised platform, and a separate power shower. The other three bedrooms all have en-suite shower rooms.
On the top floor is a large office/recreation room/cinema, measuring 35 ft by just over 11 ft, which is wired for surround sound. There's also a fifth bedroom on this floor, with an en-suite shower room.
'Orchard House' is on a small site, only a quarter of an acre, but what gardens there are have been landscaped to the nth degree. There's a cobbled driveway, two limestone patios, a play area, outdoor lighting, and a 12 ft by 10 ft garden shed. There's even a sprinkler system, should you find yourself unexpectedly short of rainfall.
The Maryborough Orchard development is about five kilometres from Cork city centre, and ten minutes' drive from the airport.
Orchard House is for sale for €1.5m with agents Frank V Murphy & Co in Cork (021) 427 4204.
Orchard House, Maryborough Orchard, Douglas, Cork City
Asking price: €1.5m Agent: Frank V Murphy & Co (021) 427 4204.