Friday 23 August 2019

Original home of writer and newspaper man - and his nine children - goes up for sale

Writer and politician John Francis Maguire built Ardmanagh for his family

Ardmanagh is being sold with 8.8 metres
Ardmanagh is being sold with 8.8 metres
The games room
The hand-carved staircase
The study, which at present is being used as a less formal area
The entrance hall has a chandelier
The house overlooks Cork Harbour
The fully fitted kitchen with a white Aga
The conservatory with doors to the terrace
John Francis Maguire

Alison Gill

The Home Rule MP for Dungarvan, John Francis Maguire, was also a supporter of the suffragette movement and votes for women. He had a legendary love of the written word. Elected to Dungarvan in 1852, and later becoming MP for Cork City between 1865 and 1872, he wrote many books including Rome and Its Ruler, Life of Father Matthew and Irish In America.

But it was his love for campaigning and writing that spurred him on to start his own newspaper in that city, The Cork Examiner, for which he is probably best known today - along with being elected Lord Mayor of Cork four times. After his death in 1872, a national tribute was set up to support his family, with the backing of his British peers and even Queen Victoria.

As a busy Cork-based politician, the man needed a home that would be close to the city, so Ardmanagh at Glenbrook, in Co Cork, was the house he built for himself, his wife and their nine children in the mid-1800s.

When the Maguires moved on, the house was then snapped up by the Doyle family, who were, and still are, big players in the shipping world. From high up overlooking Cork Harbour it was easy for them to keep an eye on the maritime comings and goings. They made a few changes to the property, including the installation of a swimming pool at the back of the house that is still there today.

The current owners bought Ardmanagh from the Doyles 34 years ago, after admiring it from a distance for a long time. When they took it on it was dark and dated. The exterior of the house was a mauve colour so the owners decided to brighten it up and give it a yellow finish. All the windows were replaced, a new kitchen was put in, and the bathrooms and en suites were redone. The house is still in excellent condition, with all original cornicing, architraves and moulding standing to attention. The bone dry half-basement is a testament to the hard work the family have put in over the years to ensure the house has always been well-kept. New owners will need to update the décor to their taste and furnish away.

It was a great family home for the vendors who are sad to let it go, but leave with happy memories of the many celebrations in the house. It's an ideal home for anyone who enjoys entertaining and has even been a venue for family weddings in the past.

The house is a two-storey, over-basement residence with a floor area of 4,499 sq ft. Viewers get a taste of what lies beyond the minute they step into the hall, with the chandelier, ceiling cornicing and hand-carved circular staircase that is lit up by the original arch-headed, multi-paned window. The dual-aspect drawing room is off the hall. This impressive room has an ornate marble mantlepiece and hearth, an original door with frieze panels and huge bay windows overlooking the harbour below. The dining room shares the same period features and has access to a patio area.

Beyond this is a conservatory with a double-height ceiling, a gas stove and doors to the terrace. There is a study beside this that is used as a less formal living space.

The kitchen is fully fitted with cream handmade units and marble worktops, and comes with a white Aga and integrated appliances. Off the kitchen is a utility with more units for extra storage.

Also on this level is a home office, shower room, guest WC and rear lobby.

On the second floor are four bedrooms. The master has bay windows, double doors to a balcony and a large en suite. Another bedroom also has an en suite and there is a main bathroom for the other two rooms to share.

The basement is every teenager's dream. The large games room has endless possibilities. There are also two store rooms on this level and a utility room. It could be attractive to anyone looking for a granny flat or very generous accommodation for an au pair.

Outside, the gardens are divided into different areas. Immediately in front of the house are the formal tiered gardens, looking out over the water. To the rear of the house is an avenue with beech trees and two old gates into another field. Above the house is the orchard and greenhouses, which are all intact but in need of a bit of TLC by someone who's interested in reviving the plot.

At the back of the house is a heated outdoor swimming pool. It hasn't been used for a while but wouldn't take much work to restore it. There is also a secure garage for two cars.

To the eastern side is a paddock for interested parties looking for a house that would fit a few horses. There are stables to the back and other outbuildings that could easily be converted. It is being sold with 8.8 acres, but there is the opportunity to buy another 3.6 acres of adjoining land for an extra €100,000.

Ardmanagh is located midway between Passage West and Monkstown. Cork city is only 15km away and the airport is 16km.

The house is for sale through agents Frank V Murphy & Company (021) 4274204 with a guide price of €1.5m.


Glenbrook, Co Cork

Asking price: €1.5m

Agent: Frank V Murphy & Company, (021) 4274204

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