Thursday 13 December 2018

A smashing time in Rathmines: inside the bright period property that has a suffragette past

Bright period property from a street that has a suffragette past

The kitchen with dining/breakfast area leads off from the main dining room
The kitchen with dining/breakfast area leads off from the main dining room
The attic bedroom
The bathroom
A bedroom
Bedroom with en suite
The exterior of the house
The hallway
The living room
The dining room

Gabrielle Monaghan

Earlier this month, Micheline Sheehy Skeffington broke a window at Dublin Castle and was arrested by a fake police officer.

The academic hadn't committed an act of vandalism - it was a re-enactment of the actions in 1912 of her suffragette grandmother, Hanna Sheehy Skeffington, and it commemorated the centenary of the parliamentary vote for women.

When Hanna smashed the windows, she had been unofficially living at a then-new two-storey brick house at Number 11 (now 21) Grosvenor Place in Rathmines with her husband Francis Sheehy Skeffington and their son Owen. Francis had refused to enter Hanna's details on the 1911 Census because the suffragettes had a campaign of non-cooperation with it. But the enumerator attempted to circumvent the boycott by recording Hanna's information, albeit incorrectly.

By 1913, Hanna was fired from her job as a teacher at the Rathmines School of Commerce for her continued involvement in feminist militancy, and, four years later, Francis (also a suffrage activist who took his wife's name) was arrested on his way home to Rathmines while trying to discourage looting during the Easter Rising. He was taken to Portobello Barracks and the following morning he was executed there by firing squad.

The exterior of the house
The exterior of the house

Just a few doors down from that historic house is Number 33 Grosvenor Place, a half-brick, half-dash fronted Edwardian terraced home. Despite retaining original features such as timber floors (maintained in the dark colour favoured by the period), alongside Edwardian fireplaces and ceiling coving, No. 33 would look only vaguely familiar to the Sheehy Skeffingtons' contemporaries.

Not only is it larger, having been extended both to the rear and upwards into the attic to increase its square footage, by a previous owner, but the current owners, who have just put the property on the market, have added dashes of bright primary colours to the walls to add visual interest.

The entrance to the 1,302 sq ft home (excluding the 260 sq ft gained through the attic conversion) is via a red-brick arched porch with a tiled floor.

Off the entrance hall, with its timber floors, coving and under-stairs storage, is the first of two interconnected reception rooms. This living room has a bay window that overlooks the front garden, a picture rail, and a chimney piece that houses an open fireplace with a tiled inset and an Art Deco-style surround.

Sliding doors lead from the living room to the dining room, which has a timber fireplace, a further picture rail, and French doors to a south-facing, decked town garden and shed. The back garden has a small gate - "almost like a secret door", the vendor says - that leads to a communal green space created as part of the Grosvenor Manor scheme of nine executive townhouses and apartments that was developed in 2016 by New Generation Homes. The owners say their four young children have delighted in playing there, given it replaced what was once derelict land.

The dining room also leads to the kitchen and breakfast room, which, in turn, has sliding glass doors opening onto the rear garden. The kitchen, which comes with plenty of dining space of its own, has cream-coloured hand-painted wall and floor units, and has been fitted with a Belfast sink, an Electrolux fridge and freezer, a four-ring gas hob from Powerpoint, a Siemens oven, a Zanussi dishwasher, and an Indesit washer/dryer. Built-in storage abounds, and there is recessed lighting and laminate flooring.

The living room
The living room

Upstairs, there are two double bedrooms and a single bedroom off the first-floor landing. The master bedroom is carpeted and comes with fitted wardrobes, a hot press, and an en suite with a tiled floor, recessed lighting, and a shower cubicle. The family bathroom is the star of this floor, with its half-tiled walls, tiled bath surround and picture window lending an Art Deco feel to the room.

The attic conversion, now a second floor, is fully finished with two skylights, storage in the eaves, fitted carpet and recessed lighting, and would make an ideal den or bedroom for a teenager. The property has a BER rating of D1 and has gas-fired central heating.

The existing owners also put insulation underneath the wooden floors.

Having bought the property in 2004, the current owners are selling up because they want to move closer to St. Michael's College, which their eldest son will attend.

Rathmines itself has witnessed a transformation since the 1930s, when it became the first "home away from home" for young civil servants and students who arrived in the capital from the countryside. By the 1990s, Rathmines had a shabby but vibrant feel, with old Victorian piles divided up into bedsits.

But these days the flats are fast disappearing and gentrification is underway. Witness the Art Deco Stella cinema which has had a makeover as a retro movie and cocktail venue, complete with leather armchair seats, table service and standard tickets costing €19.

The dining room
The dining room

At the nearby revamped Swan Centre, a down-at-heel retail complex has been revamped and recently became home to the latest Fallon & Byrne food emporium.

The house at 33 Grosvenor Place is priced at €850,000.

33 Grosvenor Place

Rathmines, Dublin 6

Asking price: €850,000

Agent: Sherry FitzGerald, (01) 4966066

Indo Property

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