Wednesday 26 April 2017

Peek inside this Victorian beach seafront home in Howth for €2.5m

Seafront home in Howth inspired an influential Irish medic

This hypnotic Howth residence has sweeping sea views
This hypnotic Howth residence has sweeping sea views
Mark Keenan

Mark Keenan

With a sunny Easter behind us and summer on its way, what could be better than to walk to the end of your garden, straight onto one of Dublin's best-loved sandy beaches?

Life is all about the beach at Roslyn, a detached period Victorian residence at Claremont Road in Howth, which also comes with three-quarters of an acre of ground. It's right on the Burrow Beach which runs for 1.2km between Sutton Cross Dart Station and Howth Village - one of the capital's most picturesque strands.

You can take your shoes off and stroll across flour-fine sand or through the surf in either direction. Or, thanks to a raised and tiled roof terrace, enjoy the marine views while sunning yourself and having a barbecue. In wilder winters, you can simply look out your bedroom windows right onto the sea. Unlike many parts of the beach, the tide comes right in here to the garden wall, which also helps with privacy.

The views include Ireland's Eye and Lambay Island. Summers here might be enough to inspire you to do greater things. Like Sir John Lumsden, who spent his childhood summers at Roslyn and went on to found the St John's Ambulance Brigade, and later the Irish Red Cross Society - to inspire a sea change for the better in Irish social housing - and to establish the national blood transfusion services.

The terracotta rooftop terrace
The terracotta rooftop terrace

The two-storey-over-basement Victorian was built in the 1870s and became the summer home of John Lumsden Snr, a Scottish banker and golf enthusiast who moved to Ireland from India in 1868. Lumsden Snr founded Dublin's first golf course. This healthy beachfront became the playground of his son, young John Lumsden Jnr, who studied medicine. He was to be found rushing about under a white flag treating the injured on both sides during the 1916 Rising and, before that, at the 1913 Lockout riots.

Lumsden Jnr, later Sir John Lumsden (knighted for his efforts during 1916), became chief medical officer at the Guinness Brewery in James's Gate and through this post became an influence on modern housing in Ireland.

Claremont Road, Howth, Co Dublin
Claremont Road, Howth, Co Dublin

Aware that workers were regularly infected with TB, partly as a result of overcrowding at home. He began making a study of their housing conditions in the slums in 1900. It has been reported that the Iveagh Trust buildings, constructed in 1903-1905 and a landmark in social housing improvement - were built according to his recommendations.

There's no danger of finding yourself hemmed in with your family at Roslyn, which has three receptions, two kitchens and five bedrooms and comes with most of its original Victorian features intact.

The two-storey-over-basement beachfront Victorian was built in the 1870s
The two-storey-over-basement beachfront Victorian was built in the 1870s

Approached by a leafy driveway, the large front garden is mainly in lawn. There's a courtyard area with a double garage and workshop. Above this is the rooftop sun deck. The rear garden is laid out in lawns, shrubs, a patio and there's a walled garden. Steps lead to the private gate with direct access to the seafront.

The reception hall leads through to the drawing room with a black marble chimney piece and a large picture window looking to the sea. There's a dining room, this time with a white marble chimney piece and French doors to the seafront. An office with bookshelves overlooks the sea and there's a bathroom on this floor. The family kitchen has access to a balcony with views to Ireland's Eye and Lambay.

Claremont Road, Howth, Co Dublin
Claremont Road, Howth, Co Dublin

On the first floor are three bedrooms, one of which is ensuite with sea views. In the basement there's a store, a WC, two bedrooms, a kitchen with an Aga, a pantry and a bathroom. Although undoubtedly impressive, the house has dated and will be in need a good deal of upgrading.

As for Sir John Jnr, after such a busy career, his childhood summers at Roslyn and the beach inspired him to return to Howth to retire. In 1930 he moved into Earlscliffe at Baily, where he spent the next 14 years until his death transforming the garden with arresting plant architecture.

View of Ireland's Eye from the garden
View of Ireland's Eye from the garden

Roslyn is available from Sherry FitzGerald Blanc for €2.5m.

Roslyn

Claremont Road, Howth, Co Dublin

Asking price: €2.5m

Agent: Sherry FitzGerald Blanc

(01) 8454500

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