Tunnel vision on quality craftwork
Glencoe is one of D3's rare corner period red bricks
Published 25/09/2015 | 02:30
What about the treasure-laiden tunnels of the Knights Templar that run underground in what is today the Dublin inner suburb of Clontarf?
The tunnels were first uncovered during work on the Port Tunnel, spurring local historian Barry Ahern to suggest the mysterious order may have hidden riches and religious artefacts in them during the purge of 1307 and 1308 when the kings of France and England moved suddenly to dissolve the wealthy and powerful order.
There was even a suggestion that the Ark of the Covenant itself had been moved during the Templar panic to the extremity of Europe, and hidden in these Clontarf tunnels.
But the 'Templar Tunnels of Clontarf' yarn that circulated online back in 2003 was one of the best in a series of elaborate hoax stories posted by a group of bloggers in a deliberate bid to see if they if they could spread them to mainstream media. The above spoof actually made it into a serious book published on the area's history and its whiff still lingers.
However, the Templars did have their main Irish stronghold at Clontarf Castle. At the time of their dissolution they paid no taxes and were running a huge international banking and money-lending operation. The Castle was emptied overnight one day in 1308 when its Templars were arrested. The Dublin Templars were particularly wealthy within the order and had friends locally, so there's a strong chance they were tipped off and did stash their dosh locally.
A post by one of the 'Templar Tunnels' jokers on the Blather website some years later recalled his involvement in the jape and received a series of replies from Clontarf residents naming existing tunnels, including that from the Casino in Marino and that which holds the passage of the "Holy Brook", a (presumably sacred) stream which ran alongside the garda station but was covered over as the suburb became developed.
This is the same stream which many believe gave its name to what is now Hollybrook Road nearby.
And it was the wealth of the newly moneyed and enfranchised Catholic middle classes that was annoying the Anglo Irish Dublin establishment in the capital in the late Victorian and Edwardian eras when this street was developed and when Catholic nationalists were taking over local government and top jobs.
Given that the newly emerging southside housing in D4 and D6 were parts of the Anglo Pembroke estates, new money Catholics came instead to Clontarf and Drumcondra to construct their grand new homes.
The best of the new northside homes were located on corner sites, having windows on all sides and usually a larger garden site. These were usually the homes reserved for highest bidders or for the builders themselves.
One of these is Glencoe at 38 Hollybrook Road which is located on such a site on the corner with Hollybrook Park.
Turn-of-the-century red-bricks are among the area's most finely crafted homes but also, laid out over two floors instead of three or four, they are the period homes which lend themselves most to modern lifestyles.
Aside from the neat red-brick, this home also comes with elaborate two-storey bay window columns for added light and views, ornate plasterwork covings, the original stained-glass panels which were a feature of the period along with the expert carpentry of a bygone era. However, as with many homes of this period, the house has been wholly restored and then modernised at the back but without compromising its vintage character.
Accommodation includes a sitting room with a bay window and marble fireplace, a dining room with a cast-iron fireplace with tile surround, a Hamptons conservatory located off a very large kitchen/diner/living space which is the big modern strength of this house. This has bespoke kitchen units, a large centre-floor island with granite worktops, a Neff stainless steel oven, a microwave, induction hob, Miele extractor hood, dishwasher and a fridge. There's a feature Belfast red-brick arched alcove with fireplace and a Morso gas stove.
The floor is in kiln dried French oak. There's an outer kitchen with a De Dietrich double oven and five-ring gas hob as well as a four-ring electric hob. There's underfloor heating (also plumbed for radiators) and double doors to the garden. There's a laundry and a wc on this floor.
Upstairs the main bathroom features a Jacuzzi corner bath and HansGrohe power shower.
Glencoe has five bedrooms and a walk-in attic with extra storage shelving.
Outside the garden is big enough to host a decent summer party.
Dig deep and who knows what you might find.
38 Hollybrook Road, Clontarf, Dublin 3
Asking price: €1.3m
Agent: Quillsen (01) 8335844