Gracious and spacious former rectory for €2.6m

A beautifully restored Victorian in Glanmire has a refurbished gate lodge and six acres of grounds

 

Reached via a winding tree-lined avenue, it was the location that inspired Mitchel Barry to taken on the challenge of restoring Glanmire Rectory, while it was the house itself that his wife Betty fell in love with when they first saw it back in 1994.

“I wasn’t so sure,” Barry recalls, “not when I saw the amount of work to be done, but even after the most stressful day at work, driving back up the avenue was the most calming thing. You have all this solitude and isolation, it’s like an oasis, but everything is on your doorstep.” Cork is just six miles away and it is a 15-minute drive to Cork airport.

The house itself, an elegant two-storey five-bedroom Victorian redbrick, had been built at the turn of the last century, when the Colthurst family, owners of Blarney Castle, gave lands on the outskirts of Glanmire village towards a rectory.

The incumbents must have been pretty delighted with themselves, because the house, which has its own one-bedroom gate lodge, is both gracious and spacious, with views across lush rolling fields, and plenty of mature trees that pre-date the house.

Nonetheless, it had fallen into disrepair when the Barrys bought it. Their renovations involved taking it right back to the shell and rebuilding the rear. “They evidently didn’t pay so much attention to the back of the house where the servants lived and worked,” says Barry, “because that part was less well built. This gave us the opportunity to put in a modern kitchen and add en suites to the bedrooms.”

The kitchen leads through to a west-facing dining area. “When the sun is setting, the trees glow,” he adds, with a strong sense of pride. It is clear it will be a wrench to leave now that their family has grown up and moved on.

Their sensitive restoration also involved saving as much of the original glasswork as possible, with those lovely undulations remaining in the panes of the tall sash windows. “We preferred to keep the old glass, but the working shutters give us all the insulation we need.” The staircase still has the original carvings on the bannisters and there is a gorgeous cathedral window on the return.

They also restored the gate lodge. “We put a lot of thought into that,” says Barry, who founded and led Allied Foods, the country’s biggest distributor of frozen foods, before his retirement, “thinking if we hit hard times, we could always move in here. Thankfully that never happened.”

Across from the kitchen, however, you can imagine plenty of good times taking place in the old coach house, which has been converted into a games room, complete with its own bar. Downstairs, the layout of the study, lounge, formal dining room and family room, all leading off the hallway, plus kitchen, utility and breakfast/dining room to the rear, is welcoming while also being on the graceful side of grand. They are generous spaces, but “not so big as to make you feel like you’re in a mausoleum”.

Outside there are about six acres of grounds, laid out as lawns and shaded by remarkable trees. Three of these acres have been zoned for residential development, but the Barrys, who have been staunch defenders of the countryside, especially when plans were mooted (then ultimately shelved) for a high-density development on the lands of nearby Dunkettle House, preferred to leave them untouched in order to preserve the peace and quiet of their lovely home.

For sale with Savills for €2.6 million, Glanmire Rectory has a lot to offer. There’s the proximity to Cork city and the airport, the peace and quiet of the setting, the house itself plus the gate lodge and that development potential at the bottom of the garden.

“Of course that’s an option for the future,” Barry says, “but I feel the next owners might leave it as we did, as a buffer zone.” This could be wishful thinking, of course, but it is clear the Barrys would love to see the timeless calm of Glanmire Rectory and its surroundings preserved for another generation to come.

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