Rural retreat offers valley views in Cork for €695k
Stoneridge Coolatooder, Ballinhassig, Co Cork €695,000
Relocating to accommodate college kids has been a trend in the US in recent years, and with a shortage of suitable accommodation and high rents causing serious headaches for students here, it's not surprising some Irish parents are following suit.
With one daughter studying at UCC, and another in fifth year at secondary school, Cork couple Paul Duffy and Karen Daly have decided to put their pocket of rural idyll, Stoneridge, in Coolatooder, Ballinhassig, Co Cork, on the market.
Being near UCC isn't the only decision behind the move. Other factors include a desire to downsize and accommodate a new phase in life.
"Our daughter lived in student accommodation for the first year, and then second year at home, once she was old enough to drive," says Duffy. "Part of the move is due to university and school, but part is downsizing and adapting to a different life stage."
Norma Healy, of selling agent Sherry FitzGerald, has found that education has moved up the rankings in influencing house purchasing decisions. "Whereas in the past it was job, house, school, we are now seeing schooling and university location as the big factors. More people are working from home, which makes the job location less important."
Stoneridge is on Kileady Hill, 15 minutes' drive from the western suburbs, along the Cork-Bandon Road, and has been the perfect place to raise their three daughters, Duffy says.
"It was built in 2001, and we bought it in 2003. We were won over by the fabulous views of the Owenabue Valley, the proximity of amenities, and all the space it offered," he says.
"We found the house to be well designed. It's a house where you can be together or separate. It was in very good order. We didn't make any real changes, apart from adding electronic gates and tarmac, and we kept it, and the garden, well maintained over the years."
The location, within an easy drive to Ringaskiddy, where Duffy is based in Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, and Ballincollig, where Daly teaches in Colaiste Choilm, also worked for them.
"We are also only five minutes' drive from the local primary school," Daly says. The city, Kinsale, and the beaches at Inchydoney and Clonakilty, are also easily accessible.
"I grew up in the countryside, and it is great to wake up to the incredible views of the valley here," says Duffy. " If there is fog, you can see above it."
It's an inviting 369.8sqm (3,980 sq ft) contemporary home, with traditional touches and an emphasis on solidity and comfort. Incorporating a spacious kitchen and dining area, three reception rooms and an external layout that lends itself to barbeques and parties, Stoneridge is ideal for those who enjoy entertaining.
The hub of the home, the triple-aspect kitchen, incorporates painted Irish oak cabinetry and granite worktops. There's a range-style stove and an island for casual dining. A striking picture window rises from floor to ceiling in one corner to provide a vista across the valley.
"On a good day you can see the Kerry mountains," says Daly.
Patio doors lead from the dining area to the garden. The utility room with its floor- and eye-level storage also offers access to the garden. The spacious hallway contains a cloakroom and there's a guest WC.
The main lounge is to the left of the hallway. Used as a sitting room, this triple-aspect space has a marble-surround open fire with stone mantle, and decorative coving. The second reception nearby functions as a study at present, and was a playroom when the children were younger.
The third reception room - the living area - is on the southern side of the house. A raised decorative fireplace in stone is a feature, and there is also decorative coving and recessed lighting. It is entered through double glass doors, with French doors opening out to a patio area.
Three bedrooms are located on the ground floor. A further two are upstairs, one of which is en-suite. The dual-aspect main bedroom has French doors to the garden, a walk-in wardrobe, and decorative coving. It has an en suite with spa-style bath, stand-alone pumped shower and recessed storage.
Set on approximately 1.5 acres, the garden is on a number of different levels and surrounds the home. It is laid to lawn with landscaped planting and a wraparound drive. There is also a detached garage.
Duffy will miss the "therapy" of gardening in this scenic setting after a busy day at work. "You can lose yourself in the garden here," he says. "Yet you don't feel isolated."
The family will miss the house and the location, he says. "Our youngest daughter has never known anywhere else, and her friends always enjoyed visiting - there's a great sense of space, inside and out."
"It has been a great family home - we have had great times here," says Daly. Stables close by add to this dream scheme for families. "Our oldest two daughters kept ponies in the stables down the road," says Duffy.
"This is a beautiful home that is perfect for young families," Healy says. "Ballinhassig is a lovely community, and the airport is within 10 minutes' drive. Cork Regional University Hospital is also within easy reach."