The mews lanes of Dublin 4 have always been seen as a desirable place to live - quiet, discreet and within walking distance of all the amenities of the city centre. The houses are popular with investors who achieve top-of-the-market rents for properties in great condition, down-sizers from larger houses in the postcode, and families based outside Dublin wanting a base for college-age children.
For young professionals and small families who can't be bothered with the tedium of a daily commute, they are the ultimate in sophisticated urban living, located close to the villages of Donnybrook and Ranelagh, with their abundance of shops and restaurants.
These days, with restaurants closed other than for take-away business, the proximity of 3fE for great coffee and Forest Avenue - which has pivoted smartly from neighbourhood restaurant to everyone's ideal of a grocery store - is just as appealing.
On a sunny afternoon last week, there were children learning to ride bikes and scooters on the lanes, couples walking their dogs and people taking advantage of the good weather to work on their gardens.
"When I first left my family home in my early twenties," says Colm O'Sheil, the vendor of 81 Waterloo Lane, "I moved into a damp, cold bedsit on Pembroke Lane with my girlfriend. Even though that flat was horrible, I loved the location, being just a couple of minutes' walk from Baggot Street, and my dream was to buy a little mews house in Dublin 4 for myself one day."
Colm eventually followed through on that dream, buying No 81 around 30 years ago.
The previous owner was celebrity hairdresser David Marshall, who had in turn purchased from the family for whom the house was designed.
The house has only had three owners since it was built in 1970.
"We lived in No 81 for about 10 years, before moving to Australia, where I have a business that repairs old sash windows," explains Colm. "One of the projects we're involved in currently is renovating all the windows in an old apartment building in the Manly suburb of Sydney." He sold his Irish business about 10 years ago.
"While we have been in Australia, I initially allowed friends and family to stay in No 81, and we used it ourselves whenever we were back in Ireland, but for the last while it's been rented out as a corporate let.
"I have absolutely loved living there and over the years we've upgraded it by re-roofing and putting in a new boiler and heating system, as well as installing new bathrooms and upgrading the kitchen. Plus, when you are renting out a property at that executive level, you have to keep on top of the maintenance because the tenants won't put up with it if you don't, so it doesn't get run down."
Once he started approaching retirement age, Colm's plan was to divide his time between Australia and Ireland; he also has a base in West Cork.
"We came back from Australia last year and the plan was to move between West Cork and Dublin when we were in Ireland. We were concerned that we might feel a bit trapped being in West Cork all the time, so we wanted the flexibility of having somewhere in Dublin too. But with Covid-19 that experiment has really fallen off a cliff and now we can only move 5km from our home in West Cork!
"The whole thing has made me want to simplify my life - it feels like 2008 all over again- and so I've decided to sell Waterloo Lane."
No 81 is on the left-hand side of Waterloo Lane, which runs parallel to Waterloo Road, as you come down from the intersection with Burlington Road to where the lane joins Leeson Street Upper. The house has both a pedestrian entrance and an automatic garage door which leads to a large car port with storage rooms on either side. Immediately to the front of the house is a courtyard which catches the late afternoon sun.
Inside, there's a handy guest lavatory off the entrance hall, which leads directly to the dining area, off which there is a galley kitchen fitted with various appliances, including a fridge-freezer, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer that are included in the sale.
The dining area is open plan with a large living room with an open marble fireplace that looks out on to, and has direct access to, the rear courtyard. It has a south-easterly orientation, gets sun throughout the afternoon and features some nice mature planting. A spiral staircase may put off some prospective purchasers but could be replaced with a straight ascent that would have the effect of compromising the dining area. Upstairs there are three bedrooms, all with fitted wardrobes. The main bedroom is en suite and there is also a family bathroom.
There is the potential to extend No 81, subject to planning permission.
According to the Property Price Register, recent sales along Waterloo Lane have included No 23 which sold for €1.058m, No 37 which sold for €900,000 and No 65 which sold for €870,00, all in December 2019.
Last year No 81 was on the market asking €835,000 and went sale agreed at €895,000, but the sale fell through.
Agent: Hunters (01) 668 0008
Viewing: Strictly by arrangement
Sunday Indo Business