A home steeped in history in Rathgar for €2.35m
Nationalist and spy story author fled over garden wall
In common with every house that has ever been home to a celebrated historical figure, there's no shortage of stories about 12 Bushy Park Road. The veracity of these stories is, of course, hard to establish almost 100 years after the Childers family took up residence there in 1920, at the outbreak of the civil war.
Erskine Childers Senior, the author of The Riddle of the Sands, was an associate of Michael Collins, who is said to have frequented the area, and to have given Childers a rifle for his own protection. Childers concealed this in a secret compartment in the stairway during the War of Independence, now hidden by the stair carpet. That's one of the stories.
Another tale relates that Childers was arrested in the garden of No 12 as he tried to escape over the back wall. One version says he was wearing his wife's clothes, by way of disguise. But there are other reports that say he made it over the wall and to the hills, only to be apprehended en route or at the family's other home, Glendalough House in Annamoe, Co. Wicklow.
And there's a poignant account that on the day of his father, Erskine Senior's, execution, Erskine Junior (later to become President of Ireland) was wheeled along Bushy Park Road - no doubt in a smart Silver Cross pram - by his nanny.
We'll never know, of course, how much these stories may have been embellished over the intervening years.
Built in 1897, and extended since, though not in recent years, No. 12 is a semi-detached, double-fronted late-Victorian house located on the tree-lined Bushy Park Road in the heart of genteel Rathgar.
The house has been on the market since last September, quoting an asking price of €2.35m. Agent Mary Nevin of Quillsen confirmed this week that she has an offer for €1.95m, but she and her clients are holding out for the full asking price.
With 3207 sq ft of living space, five double bedrooms and a covetable 120ft south-facing garden, this is a house that should be purchased by a family who will get years of use from it.
The current owners are downsizing after 15 years here, and it's clear it is a well-loved family home which new owners would be able to move into immediately, although they will probably wish to upgrade the kitchen, bathrooms and decor in time.
While the proportions are generous and the rooms gracious, there is no sense that there are 'good' rooms. There is, however, a 'bad' room - a Seómra at the end of the garden kitted out with a bar. There's a hot tub too, and I'd hazard a guess that both have seen an amount of teenage and student partying. In fact, they probably have stories of their own.
Set back from the road, No 12 has a front garden in lawn with some coiffed bay trees alongside the gravel drive and parking area, with room for several cars.
Inside, the entrance hallway sets the tone for the rest of the house: high ceilings, coving and cornices, and original panelled doors. To the right of the front door is the family room/library with an original white marble fireplace and bay window to the front. To the left is the double aspect drawing room, with original black marble fireplace, adjoining the music room, which in turn opens out to the back garden.
The kitchen and dining rooms span the width of the back of the house, overlooking the very generous garden. For a family with young or sporty children, this will be a huge draw, and there's ample room for a spot of vegetable gardening and a chicken coop should that be part of the dream.
Also on the ground floor are a shower room, pantry and utility room, the latter opening directly to a garage running along the full depth of the house and with both front and rear access. A former owner used this as an artist's studio and there is potential for the space to be used as a home office.
Upstairs, there are five double bedrooms. One is located on the first floor return, alongside the family bathroom. The double aspect master bedroom suite is on the first floor, and opens out onto a decked terrace with views across The High School rugby pitches that back on to No 12, towards the Dublin Mountains.
There is one further bedroom at first floor level, and two more on the second floor, both with wash-hand basins - handy in the morning rush for the bathroom. Several of the bedrooms have good quality wardrobes.
Rathgar is a popular location for families, with a good choice of national and secondary schools, including Alexandra College, Gonzaga, Stratford College, Sandford Park, St Mary's and Terenure College all within easy reach.
The village is within walking distance, and has a good selection of shops and a couple of decent restaurants and cafes. Terenure is convenient too, with the Green Man Wine Bar a convivial meeting spot for locals of an evening.
In Bushy Park itself there's a weekly market on Saturdays. St Stephen's Green is a two and a half mile walk away, while the 15B bus goes directly to Grand Canal Dock.
12 Bushy Park Road
Rathgar, Dublin 6
Asking price: €2.35m
Agent: Quillsen (01) 4064500