Erin McCafferty on the Enniskerry home where Luke followed in the footsteps of dad, Des
67 Eagle Valley, Enniskerry, Co Wicklow
Asking price: €1.395m Agent: Sherry FitzGerald (01) 286 6630
Des and Luke Fitzgerald are a father and son who have both donned the green jersey at the highest level of rugby.
Des propped for Ireland from 1984 to 1992 as an amateur player, appearing at two world cups and undertaking a Lions tour in 1986, before retiring aged 35.
Luke, meanwhile began playing at Blackrock College, later winning the European Cup with Leinster, a Grand Slam with Ireland, and earning a Lions tour spot at the age of just 21. Both Fitzgeralds, now retired, achieved exactly the same number of caps for Ireland — 34.
Des previously worked in finance and IT and is now retired. While his rugby career had finished by the time he and his wife Andrea, (a former midwife) and Ireland international netball player bought their home at No67 Eagle Valley in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, his son’s career had yet to begin.
From then on the five-bedroom, Neo-Tudor style, 3,348 sq ft, detached house was the home of the beginning of Luke’s own career in rugby.
“It was the base for everything that Luke did,” says Des. “We moved here in 1998, when he was just 10 years old and he grew up here, throwing a rugby ball around the garden, and in other parts of the house too,” he laughs.
There was plenty of space for throwing the ball around No67. The house was new and one of 100, built on land formerly owned by the Powerscourt family, located at the entrance to the estate. And the communal green out front became a summer-long sports field for all of the sporty Fitzgerald children.
The kitchen has been renovated twice. The room now has light grey units with quartz counter tops and cream tiles on the floor, installed just three years ago.
There was a separate dining room originally, but the partition was removed to make a big open-plan living space, which now fits a 10-seater dining table. There’s a marble-topped island with a pine inlay, and a wine fridge underneath it in the centre.
The house has three reception rooms, the largest of which runs the length, at the front. It has a gas fire and a white mantelpiece and polished hardwood floors. The walls are taupe and the furniture, cream and white.
Andrea, Des’s wife, chose the universally light colour scheme and all of the furnishings. “I went for white, cream, light beige or light grey in most of the rooms... to give them a calm and inviting look,” says the former interior designer. The attic has also been converted. Originally, it had two rooms which were used as bedrooms, and a bathroom. It now consists of an unofficial spare bedroom, an office and a gym which Des uses to keep fit. This is where his caps for Ireland hang.
There are four bathrooms, one of which has a free-standing bath tub with a wooden stand and a matching sink. “I love that it’s a modern take on an old-fashioned bath tub,” says Andrea.
The back garden faces south west and gets the sun all day. It’s been landscaped and has a number of mature birch trees at the back, and a lawn beyond the patio.
“The patio is a major suntrap,” says Des. “We often eat breakfast out there in the summer, but equally we have a 10-seater dinner table and we use the patio for barbecues.”
Des and Andrea have entertained many times over the years and the house can fit a lot of people. “It’s a fantastic party house because downstairs all the rooms have folding doors that can be pushed back to make a really big space,” says Des. “You can open up the whole ground floor.”
“Plus, you can open up the concertina, three-fold door of the kitchen so it opens into the back garden. It’s one of the things I love about the house,” adds Andrea. “We’ve had great parties in it and many of Luke’s achievements were celebrated here.”
Just last year the house with the white led colour scheme and its garden held the wedding reception for Luke and his now wife, Aisling Burke.
“It was ideal because that was during Covid,” says Andrea. “It was a fantastic day and the house leant itself perfectly as a venue.”
The location is also part of the house’s appeal. “We were drawn to Enniskerry because it has easy access to the mountains and the sea, picturesque scenery and it has an active village with every amenity,” says Des. “It’s just 12 miles from Dublin City Centre and it’s near schools and a variety of sports clubs which was important to us.”
The couple have five children: Luke now 36 is the oldest, Racheal, 34, Rebecca, 32, Sarah, 31 and Aaron, 26, and all are into sport. The girls played basketball and hockey at school, Aaron rugby.
“When the kids were young we had a lot of fun in the house,” adds Des. “It was such a great place to bring up a family. It’s a tight-knit community and all the children knew each other.”
Now that their kids have all left the family nest, Des and Andrea believe it’s the right time to sell.
“This is a very large house for just two people, but we are still sad to be leaving,” says Des. “We have a massive amount of wonderful memories from 25 years of living here. But there’s a time for everything.”
No 67 Eagle Valley is now on the market for €1.395m through Sherry FitzGerald.