Joe Duffy's digs in Glasnevin
Broadcaster's first home from home is on the market
Published 29/01/2016 | 02:30
The former owners of 15 Willow Park Grove in Glasnevin used to keep Joe Duffy in their garage. At some point, the Purcell family, who owned the semi-detached house during the 1970s decided they needed some additional family income. Having converted their garage into digs accommodation, they set about letting it out.
In 1976 Joe Duffy moved out of his family home in Ballyfermot and the nuns steered him to the Purcells, who agreed to take the young teenager as a tenant for the garage room.
"The excitement of moving to a house with my own room and no siblings was intense," writes the anchor broadcaster in his 2011 autobiography Just Joe.
Duffy described his landlords Bill and Maureen Purcell in terms of adoptive parents: "I loved it there. I felt like the only child in a soft, warm house. In return I brought them nothing but chaos."
Shortly after moving into the Purcells' former garage, he began attending Trinity College where he threw himself into student politics, and by 1980 he was president of the college students' union. He led numerous protests, including a particularly fractious one over bar and canteen facilities which had the young Duffy both arrested and expelled.
Today, the Liveline presenter is one of Ireland's most popular broadcasters with a listenership of 367,000 (2015) and a salary reported in 2013 at €378,000. His recent book Children Of The Rising has become an Irish best seller.
Meantime, Duffy's description of the house as "an ordered, quiet, comfortable and welcoming middle-class home" could equally apply today as the property is placed on the market by a professional couple.
This is a big estate house of the type typically built in Dublin through the 1950s to dimensions considerably more generous than those which followed in later decades. At 1,521 sq ft, it is about one third larger than the typical family three-bed. In recent years, 1950s homes have assumed a new popularity with many of the original 1950s styling features seen as a big design plus.
One of the mistakes owners of these types of homes have made over the years is replacing these features, particularly the original box-tile fireplaces which have been too often supplanted with faux Victorian versions.
At number 15 the balance is ideal - the house is clean, airy and bright, and includes many of these retro cool features such as the fireplace, joinery and bedroom doors. The recessed arched entrance leads into the hall with the original staircase and T&G stained floors.
The main reception room has double doors to the rear reception allowing them to open into one another, creating a larger space for entertainment.
The oak-fitted kitchen with porcelain checkered tiling has a double sink and leads to the utility room.
There's Neff appliances here including an oven, hob, extractor, dishwasher and fridge freezer. A decent addition to the property is the sun room with oak frame, a laminated wood floor and French doors leading to a deck outside.
The back hall connects the kitchen to the garage conversion that was Joe's old digs. The room Duffy lived in during his formative years has now been refurbished and is currently used as a study and a library.
Upstairs, there are three bedrooms and a main family bathroom and there's access to the attic for additional storage. The heating is gas fired. The back garden includes the aforementioned deck and is fitted with outdoor electric sockets.
Duffy isn't the only personality of note to spend time in the neighbourhood.
The house sits a few hundred yards from 10 Cedarwood Road, the semi-detached home where Paul Hewson (aka Bono) grew up.
As such, it is within a short hop to Mount Temple, the school where Hewson met up with other members of U2 and his wife-to-be, Ali. The house is also within walking distance from Dublin City University and within range of some of north Dublin's best schools, including the Glasnevin Educate Together, Scoil Mobhi, Dominican College Griffith Avenue and Maryfield.
It is also a short walk to the still-planned Metro North commuter rail system which will connect the city centre to Dublin Airport.
Around here there are few problems, so no need to talk to Joe.
15 Willow Park Grove
Glasnevin, Dublin 11
Asking price: €425,000
Agent: DNG (01) 8300989