Transformed bungalow in Greystones is full of light for €1.1m
Donard has been extended by the current owners
Brendan Behan paid a visit to Greystones in the late 1950s. Everyone did in those days. Greystones had been a draw for day-trippers and weekenders for around 100 years by then. But instead of spending a restful evening watching as "the great sea under the setting sun gleams like a glass," Brendan spent the night in the police station, kicking at the cell door until 4.30am.
Supposedly he went to Greystones to write, and booked into the Grand Hotel, but then got in the way of his own plans by getting drunk instead. Events had a predictable enough sequel at Bray District Court, where he appeared on a charge of being drunk and disorderly.
The court heard he was found lying on the ground at Church Road at one o'clock in the morning. When the police arrived they said he insulted them loudly, calling them "bloodhounds", "murderers" and "guttersnipes", to which the defendant agreed. "I am on my oath now, so I must admit that I was drunk on this occasion," he said.
Asked by the judge to apologise, Behan posed a philosophical enquiry. "Which would be the greater insult - to apologise if I was not sincere or not to apologise?" In the end he did apologise, sincerely or otherwise, and was fined 40 shillings.
The case was reported at great length in the papers, as Behan was such a fertile source of entertainment, and it was doubtless read with relish by the good burghers of Greystones in particular, who might have overheard the row as it happened.
Among them might have been the occupants of a modest, newly-built bungalow at Manor Avenue - about a kilometre as the crow flies from the scene of Behan's disgrace and possibly in earshot of it.
Much like Greystones itself - and sadly unlike Behan, who never did change his ways - that unostentatious bungalow has experienced a transformation since those days.
The current owners bought it 15 years ago and saw the potential behind its dreary pebble-dash façade and its rather poky rooms. It was all on one floor, with a kitchen, a dining room, a living room and three bedrooms, and there was an adjoining garage.
They applied for planning permission to throw up a single-storey extension, to make the garage part of the house, and to convert the attic.
The result is a 2,920 sq ft dormer, and with its cute creeper-clad façade and its completely reimagined proportions, it shows barely a trace of the 1950s bungalow that it used to be back in Brendan Behan's day.
The most significant change is the single-storey back extension, which takes the form of an open-plan kitchen, dining and living room that measures over 750 sq ft.
It has a vaulted ceiling with a large window at the apex, so it's drenched in daylight. The kitchen has a centre island with a Belfast sink, and there's a wood-pellet stove in the room and three sets of French doors to the garden.
At the gable end of the room is a floor-to-ceiling window with two sets of doors. These open onto a short flight of steps down to a paved patio in the garden. On the other wall is another door giving onto a deck in weathered wood. This is the eastern wall, so you should get morning sun on the deck. And there's a retractable canopy overhead, should the sun be uncharacteristically brilliant.
There are two more living rooms at the front of the house - one a lounge or TV room and the other a more formal drawing room. This latter room has a projecting bay, and as it's on the southern elevation, it gets plenty of light. It has wood-panelled walls and a fireplace.
Also off the kitchen there's a good-sized utility room and a separate pantry, with a little toilet in between the two of them.
The ground floor also has three bedrooms (one in the old garage) and two bathrooms. Upstairs there are three more rooms. Currently they consist of a bedroom at each gable end (one with built-in beds and storage) and a shower room and home office in between.
Donard is on half an acre of grounds, with gardens front and back, closely planted with flowers and shrubs and sheltered by mature ornamental trees. There's also a vegetable and fruit garden, apple trees, meandering lawns and two sheds.
It's about a 10-minute walk down to the south beach from here, and 15 minutes to the DART station. The N11 is four kilometres away, getting you to Dublin in about 35 minutes or so, traffic permitting. Greystones Golf Club is half a kilometre's distance as the crow flies - or the golf ball, if you're lucky. Travel about the same distance in the other direction and you'll reach the tennis club and the rugby club.
The agent is Dooley Auctioneers (01) 201 0300 and the asking price is €1.1m.
Manor Avenue, Greystones, Co Wicklow
Asking price: €1.1m
Agent: Dooley Auctioneers (01) 201 0300