Video: A heavenly Killiney lodge can be yours for €1.275m
Nuns' Abbey the inspiration for fantasy lodge
The village of Killiney takes its name from the site of the Nuns' Abbey. Leinin, a local chieftain, and his seven daughters converted to Christianity, and together they went on to found a monastic community on Marino Avenue West. Today the family are commemorated in the stained glass windows of the Church of St Alphonsus and Columba in Ballybrack, just a couple of minutes' walk away.
Although the establishment of the first church dates back to the sixth century, its current roofless ruin dates from the 11th century. Today the tiny chapel is looked after by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council with the assistance of local residents.
When the current owners of Abbey Lodge bought the land on which their house now stands, there was planning permission for a contemporary-style house. But, inspired by the neighbouring National Treasure, the Nuns' Abbey, they had other ideas and went back, literally, to the drawing board.
"We wanted to harmonise with the abbey rather than build something incongruous," say the owners.
Using granite that was already available on the site, and reclaimed brick, they built a thick-walled lodge that looks as if it might date back to Victorian times, but was in fact completed only 15 years ago.
Stonemasons were employed to create artistic masonry, there are sandstone windows and doorframes, and an amount of decorative cast iron and woodwork. It is clear Abbey Lodge has been a labour of love - every aspect of its construction thought through with an attention to detail seldom found in a modern house. There are even chains leading from the upper storeys to ground level as a conduit for rainwater.
Marino Avenue West is a turning off Killiney Hill Road just before the intersection with Military Road. The creeper-clad Abbey Lodge sits behind electric gates and high granite walls on a compact site that offers a desirable level of privacy. The gravelled area to the front of the house offers parking for three or four cars, and a flight of granite steps leads up to a decorative front porch.
The accommodation is spread over three levels and has just over 2,500 sq ft of living space. Inside, off the hexagonal hallway, with his and hers cloakrooms, the drawing room features a large sandstone fireplace and two Juliet balconies, facing towards the sea in one direction and across to the Abbey in the other.
Clearly designed with entertaining in mind, there is a bar preparation area concealed behind folding doors. Also on the entrance level is a study with panelled walls and marble windowsills, a double bedroom and a guest lavatory.
Upstairs, the landing has a feature window affording views over the Abbey adjacent and towards Killiney Hill and the obelisk in the distance. The master bedroom looks out towards Killiney Bay, Bray Head and the Sugarloaf. The adjoining ensuite is fully tiled in limestone and has a Jacuzzi bath for some luxurious soakage. Another double bedroom to the front of the house and a family bathroom are also located on this upper level. At garden level, the kitchen, breakfast and living areas are open plan. The kitchen has solid wood cupboards, granite worktops, a granite-topped breakfast bar and all the usual integrated appliances. The living/dining area has limestone flooring, carved wooden pillars, cast iron window covers, wooden beams and a feature brick fireplace.
Double doors lead directly in to the conservatory, which faces south and looks out over the manicured garden. Also at garden level are a shower room and sauna, the utility room, and a boiler room with clothes-drying area.
Whatever about the architectural style of the house, there is nothing Victorian about the modern conveniences the owners have installed. Clever storage, gas-fired under-floor heating, an integrated vacuum facility, a mechanical ventilation and heat recovery system, and surround sound are just some of the extras that make this a very comfortable, warm house. Even the lily pond and waterfall outside are rainwater harvested, in case any potential purchaser is concerned about the implications for their future water bills.
The owners say the south-facing garden is a suntrap, and it is clear they have devoted considerable time and energy to its landscaping and planting.
A right of way from Marino Avenue West leads down to Killiney DART Station - "it's a five minute walk", say the owners, "less if you're in a hurry" - and the beach, which has recently been granted a Blue Flag and is a terrific amenity for dog owners, anglers and swimmers alike.
Holy Child School Killiney is also within a short walk, although Abbey Lodge is more likely to appeal to older buyers than those with school-age children. Ballybrack is the closest village, and there is a Tesco Shopping Centre a short drive away. It is Dalkey, though, that offers the best selection of pubs and restaurants, and specialty shops.
Marino Avenue, West, Killiney, Co Dublin
Asking price: €1.275m
Agent: Savills (01) 2885011