Monday 25 March 2019

Former TV industry executive is selling his extended Clonskeagh home

  • 134 The Maples Clonskeagh, Dublin 14

  • Asking price: €895,000

  • Agent: Sherry FitzGerald (01) 496 9909

The kitchen/dining extension
The kitchen/dining extension
The mixed brick exterior
The living room
The patio
The dining area
The nearby church

Residents of Bird Avenue, which joins Clonskeagh to Windy Arbour near Milltown in Dublin, will be familiar with the area's most imposing landmark, The Church of the Immaculate Virgin Mary of the Miraculous Medal (to give it its full name), an enormous red/brown brick structure in a Revivalist style. Its style could be described as a cross between two statement buildings you might find somewhere between Batman's Gotham City and a pre-war Stalingrad.

The story of how the Miraculous Medal Church came about is legendary in the circles of crusty old architects who like to like to talk about what might have been. So in 1953 the Diocese of Dublin decided it needed a rather large new church to service overflows from the then tightly packed pews of nearby Donnybrook. Unusually for that time, the clergy decided to opt for an architectural competition open to all, to ferret out some suitably modern and creative options.

And so, the then biggest architectural competition seen since the beginning of the State was launched, seeking submissions from the bright young practices that were emerging at the time all over Ireland.

Before the closing date for entries was reached, a phenomenal 101 proposals were received from all over Ireland and Britain, such was the prestige of the project. That's 101 different churches.

The living room
The living room

But then the caped dark knight of 1950s church in Ireland, the infamous Archbishop John Charles McQuaid, swooped in and canned them all - in favour of the non-entry Revivalist design by the practice of James and Kelly that we see today. And in true Irish architect style, it went spectacularly over budget, costing IR£219,000 despite the requirement of a IR£150,000 ceiling on the project.

Today most will find the church not entirely unattractive (the glass cased architects model lingered for many years in its lobby, perhaps as an ecumenical warning against design exuberance). But the unkept promise of what might have been has always lingered along Bird Avenue.

Revivalist simply means reviving an older style rather than creating something new and some revivalist styles hold up better than others when it comes to housing.

Back in the early 1980s Dublin developers were obsessed with mock Georgian styling - faux porticoes and dodgy Neo Classical plastic flourishes. For the most part these have dated badly. For a short time afterwards, they went all Neo Tudor, led by builders like Sorohans who lashed out the hens foot timber beaming, elaborate high-slated porches and leaded windows. The Mock Tudors have generally held up well as shown by the huge sustained buyer enthusiasm today for schemes like Sandyford Downs, south of Dundrum.

Although not quite as completely Tudored up as The Downs, the Maples, with its near Neo Tudor touches in decorative brick mix, squared bay windows and posted porches, are handsome, wholesome and equally sought after, particularly by those priced out of neighbouring Dublin 4 and older Clonskeagh.

Bought some years ago by the former television industry executive Trevor Twamley (latterly director of Setanta Sports and Eir) who now runs Sports Endorse, the sports star representative firm; and his banking executive wife Karena O'Sullivan, No. 134 The Maples is one of the larger corner site houses in the scheme. In the interests of an expanding family and to facilitate home entertaining, the busy couple decided to improve the house further with the addition of a modern kitchen/diner/living extension.

The kitchen/dining extension
The kitchen/dining extension

As luck would have it, Karena's cousin is the architect David Moriarty (of Moriarty & Associates). Keeping it in the family, David got stuck in and the extension was finished only last year.

But with this year's launch and expansion of Sports Endorse and Karena's IFSC based focus, the couple must now sell up to move closer to business. They have placed their newly extended home on the market for €895,000 through the Sherry FitzGerald agency.

Accommodation comprises an entrance hall with travertine flooring, under stairs storage and a guest wc. There's a children's play room with a stained wooden floor. The living room has a walnut floor and glazed doors lead through to the kitchen/dining room. This has a limed oak floor, a fitted kitchen with a storage pantry, quartz counters and an integrated breakfast bar.

The appliances include a Rangemaster with five ring electric hob, overhead extractor and an integrated Electrolux fridge and freezer. The dining area has floor to ceiling windows overlooking the main garden and there's a utility room with crème marfil tiled floor and fitted units with a stainless steel sink.

Upstairs the master bedroom is has fitted wardrobes and an ensuite bathroom with subway style tiling, a double shower cubicle with a rain water shower head and there are three more bedrooms and a family bathroom. In the rear garden is patio for outdoor dining.

Just up the road is Clonskeagh Village green and its shops and around the corner is UCD, Dublin's German School and the landmark Clonskeagh mosque.

Towards Windy Arbour, the Luas is 10 minute's walk and so is the Milltown entrance to the River Dodder Linear Park which runs from Ballsbridge to Firhouse. Dundrum Shopping Centre is 20 minutes away. On its doorstep are the CUS School sports fields behind the Church of The Miraculous Medal. Schools nearby include Alexandria, Gonzaga, Holy Cross Dundrum and Mount Anville.

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