Inside one of Sandycove's oldest homes on the market for €1.6m
Record books don't mention that in the 1840s, the fastest travelling human being in the world was likely Dublin-based rail worker Frank Elrington, who unwittingly covered the distance from Dun Laoghaire to Dalkey in just 75 seconds.
In the 1830s, a dispute raged over whether the steam engine that powers a passenger train should be mounted on the train itself (locomotive) or located in a stationary pumping house located off track. The latter powered a pipe suction system which pulled the train along. This was known as an 'atmospheric' railway system.
The Dublin Kingston Railway locomotive service completed in 1834 was ahead of its time as the world's first suburban railway. But when it came to extending it to Dalkey in that year, the atmospheric concept was in the ascendancy and became the chosen option.
A stationary steam engine housed in a building at Atmospheric Road in Dalkey extracted air from a pipe running along the centre of the track. When the brakes were released the train was pulled by an attached piston carriage. This was sucked along the rails - usually at about 25mph. The vacuum power was regulated in accordance to the overall weight of the train.
But one day, workers forgot to attach the two heavy passenger carriages to the lead piston carriage (operated by Elrington). The brake was released and off shot the unweighted and ultra light piston carriage on high vacuum traction with Elrington clinging on to it. He got to Dalkey in just 75 seconds, reported as averaging 84mph along the way.
If true, the white-knuckle ride makes Elrington the fastest human being on the planet until 1895 when the London bound steam engine 'Hardwicke' hit 90mph. The Dalkey Atmospheric Railway ran until 1844 when it was replaced by locomotive.
Elrington might have shot past the then owners of 32 Sandycove Road. The house was constructed in the early 1840s as one of the very first 'big' homes completed in Sandycove's first villa terrace - right after the Atmospheric railway opened up the sleepy fishing village to development.
The villas were provided for wealthy city-based folk who utilised the new rail link to copy Queen Victoria's example of having a summer bathing home by the sea. They mustn't have trusted rail entirely because this home still has the original coach house for horses.
The double fronted 2,271 sq ft residence has most of its original 1840s features intact, including many glass window panes. A dual aspect drawing room has original coving and centre rose as well as the 1840s marble chimney piece. Intriguingly, the room contains a hidden service door.
The dining room also has covings and original shutters, along with fitted book cases. An interconnecting door leads through the library with its original solid wooden floor, coving and original window and shutters. Another door leads through to a home office. French doors open on to the original granite steps that lead down to a paved patio area and garden.
At garden level, we find the kitchen and breakfast room with cream fitted units and black granite worktops. There's a Rangemaster double oven, five-plate gas hob, a Bosch dishwasher and Bosch fridge-freezer, and a Jotul wood and turf-burning stove with storage-heating capacity.
Also on this floor is a cold room/utility room, a guest bathroom and two of the five bedrooms. The first-floor return has a Diocletian window and on the top level are three bedrooms. The family bathroom has the free-standing cast iron tub, which is original to the house, alongside a modern power shower. A gravelled driveway has parking for three while the rear garden stretches to 81ft in length with a Liscannor stone patio and granite walls.
Number 32 is located near the 'sandy cove' itself along with the '40 foot', both as hugely popular in the summer months for bathing as they were in the 1840s.
The two-storey coach house of 1,000 sq-ft-plus has planning permission to convert it into a self contained mews. The option adds big shot rental income potential to this historic home, now on offer for €1.595m.
32 Sandycove Rd
Asking price: €1.595m
Agent: Janet Carroll (01) 2882020