Peek inside this elegant Victorian redbrick in Ballsbridge which could be yours for a spicy €3.5m
We take a look at one of the most expensive houses currently for sale in Dublin's embassy belt
It is claimed - although by a not altogether impartial source - that the best Mexican food in Ireland used to be served at Number 61 Eglinton Road in Donnybrook, Dublin 4.
This elegant Victorian redbrick semi-detached was formerly leased for use by the Mexican ambassador to Ireland, Carlos Eugenio Garcia de Alba.
In an article in this newspaper in 2013, the ambassador said the best Mexican cuisine in the whole country was cooked and eaten in his house. He gave credit to his chef, Lupita, for the honour, and apologised to the Mexican restaurants of Dublin if they felt slighted.
He added that he started every day with a traditional Mexican breakfast of chilaquiles - fried tortillas, chicken, red and green sauce, and onion - before heading to work at the embassy at nearby Raglan Road.
Lupita would have cooked this zesty and no doubt fortifying dish in the sumptuous kitchen of Number 61, which is in a recently-added extension at the back of the late 19th-century house.
That extension was just part of a protracted and painstaking refurbishment of the house by its current owners. They bought the place in 2004 and are now living in it again, since the ambassador departed to another residence in Rathgar some time ago.
The owners are now making their second attempt to sell it, having failed to finalise a suitable bid on their last attempt in 2010, when it had an asking price of €3.85 million.
It will be auctioned by Colliers on the 29th of this month, with an AMV of €3.4 million. By way of comparison, Number 85 Eglinton Road sold last June for €2.6 million, according to the Property Price Register, while just across the street, Number 64 fetched €1.8 million in 2013.
Number 61, though, is in a stellar condition. "This is a sparkling house. It's absolutely beautiful," says selling agent Peter Kenny of Colliers. "I think it's worth it."
The refurbishment added ultra-modern conveniences without any apparent sacrifice of Victorian charm. Its period features include decorative plasterwork with cornicing and ceiling roses, polished wood floors, a fine open-string staircase, and an abundance of fireplaces.
And there are up-to-the-minute embellishments such as smart home technology, under-floor heating, automated security gates, a video intercom, and a C3 energy rating.
The house has five bedrooms, all en-suite, and an array of reception rooms laid out for the kind of elegant parties an ambassador might throw. The main one of these is an open-plan dining room and drawing room left of the entrance hall. The drawing room has a polished wood floor and marble fireplace, and a bay window overlooking the front. A pair of Doric columns stand guard at the entry to the adjoining dining room, the dividing wall having been knocked at some stage, and there's a matching marble fireplace in this room.
French doors open from the dining room to the rear extension, which consists of the open-plan kitchen and family room. These rooms have double-height vaulted ceilings with antique beams and extensive roof-lighting above them, and the floors are in polished limestone with underfloor heating.
The family room has a stone fireplace, and at the garden end of the room there's a full-height glazed wall that includes French doors to the patio and garden.
The kitchen has hand-painted cabinets by Clive Christian with granite worktops, a centre island with a breakfast bar, and a larder cupboard, and there's a separate utility room. Also on the ground floor there's a TV room or playroom with built-in storage, a study with another marble fireplace just inside the front door, and a guest toilet under the stairs.
The first floor has three bedrooms, all en-suite, including the master bedroom suite which runs the full length of the house. The master bedroom has a marble fireplace and a bay window overlooking leafy Eglinton Road. It has an adjoining dressing room with fitted wardrobes, and there's a jacuzzi bath in the en-suite as well as a power shower, twin sinks and a bidet.
The other two bedrooms, also both en-suite, are on the top floor. All five bathrooms in the house have floor and wall tiles in marble, heated towel rails and underfloor heating.
The front garden, behind electric gates, has raised stonewall flowerbeds next to the driveway, where there's off-street parking for at least a couple of cars. Should you want to shield the car from the elements, it can also be parked in a double garage at the back of the property, which provides vehicle access to a private, gates laneway giving.
St Stephen's Green is about 35 minutes on foot, or catch the Luas at Beechwood, about one-and-a-half kilometres away. Donnybrook village is five minutes' walk.
The back garden features a patio and a neat lawn.
Colliers' Peter Kenny says the interest in Number 61 so far has been among well-heeled Irish buyers only, though he adds that increasing numbers of British-based Irish people have been looking at properties in this price bracket in Dublin in recent weeks.
"Sterling is providing a 20%-25% discount on the market at the moment so it makes things much more affordable," he points out.
Number 61 Eglinton Road will be go under the hammer at Colliers' auction rooms at Pembroke Street in Dublin (01) 633 3700 on Wednesday 29 April at 2.30pm.
61 Eglinton Road, Donnybrook, Dublin 4
Asking price: AMV €3.5m
Agent: Colliers (by auction)