Saturday 18 August 2018

Alpine feel to family home

Secret passageways, man caves, mature gardens and access to the city will appeal to trader uppers

The timber-cladded master bedroom.
The timber-cladded master bedroom.
A view of the house from the front
The conservatory
The patio area at the back of the house

Katy McGuinness

Newcastle, Co Dublin — not to be confused with Newcastle in Co Wicklow — has the feel of a country village rather than a suburb of the capital, and appeals to those who prefer to live in a rural location yet still need to be close to the city, the M50 and the airport.

A short distance away, Athgoe South is a substantial family home with 5230 sq ft of living space arranged over three levels. It stands at the end of a cobble-lock driveway equipped with French drains so there are no puddles, even on the wettest of days, and behind electric wrought-iron gates.

The gardens extend to three-quarters of an acre, so there’s plenty of room for sandpits, swings, Wendy houses, trampolines and goalposts — all the things that children want and typical suburban family gardens simply cannot accommodate — as well as for fruit and vegetable growing and chicken coops, should the new owners be minded to try their hands at a degree of self-sufficiency. As it is, the current owners, who, with their family grown are now down-sizing, have designed and planted beautiful mature gardens, with immaculate lawns which they maintain themselves with a ride-on machine. There are apple trees, both cooking and eating, pears and plums, and on a soggy autumn day there are baskets of windfalls in the kitchen, waiting to be turned into something delicious.

The current owners are an Irish German couple involved in construction, and the house was designed by a relation who is an architect. The build was completed in 1985, with the subsequent addition 10 years ago of a sun room off the kitchen to take advantage of the bucolic views across the surrounding farmland from the back of the house. This, say the owners, is where family gatherings take place — and in the summer months they throw open all the doors on to the patios outside and barbecue, sitting around the outdoor fire until late into the evening.

A view of the house from the front
A view of the house from the front

The house has a distinctly Alpine feel both inside and out, with extensive use of wood throughout. There is an abundance of bedrooms — depending on how the space is figured it could be as many as seven, although many of these are currently used as home-offices, art rooms and the like — and plenty of bathrooms and ensuites, with these also having been upgraded about 10 years ago. The house is in excellent condition and, despite its size, there is the sense of warmth that comes with it all being used on a daily basis, rather than there being any ‘good’ rooms reserved for high days and holy days.

The owners hope a family “with a rake of children” buy the house, and get to enjoy every inch of it as they and their own family have done. Youngsters will particularly enjoy the secret passage that leads from the bedrooms on one side of the house to those on the other on the first floor.

In the basement, there is a pool room, utility room and large workshop, which the owners refer to as the man cave.

There is access to the pool room via double doors to the outside, and this is space that could be put to a multitude of uses, and might be of particular interest to someone with an interest in restoring vintage cars. There is also a large detached garage, and an attractive shed with a deck to catch the evening sun, as well as a potting shed which gets plenty of use.

In historical documents, Newcastle is often referred to as Newcastle-Lyons. The Lyons refers to the Lyons Estate, which lies a short distance from Athgoe South. The fine Georgian house there was completed in 1797 by architect, Oliver Grace, and it was at Lyons in 1815 that Daniel O’Connell, the Liberator, found himself engaged in a duel with John D’Esterre, a member of Dublin Corporation, whom he shot and killed.

University College Dublin purchased the estate in 1963, and subsequently sold the house and half of the land to the late Tony Ryan, who is said to have spent over €80m on its restoration and renovation. In recent years, the commercial part of the estate — the Village at Lyons, comprising a cookery school, a few shops and apartments, a restaurant and a wedding venue — was sold to businessman Barry O’Callaghan and it is now operated as a sister property to his successful Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore, Co Waterford and the Cliff Townhouse. The Orangery restaurant is provenance-driven, using produce grown in the estate’s own potager and locally-foraged ingredients in its seasonal menu, which is overseen by Michelin-starred chef Martijn Kajuiter from the Cliff Townhouse.

The conservatory
The conservatory

The current owners say that they do most of their shopping in Naas — a 10-minute drive away — while the Avoca mothership at Rathcoole, with its excellent food-hall and restaurants, is a handy local meeting spot. There is tennis club locally as well as schools in Newcastle and Rathcoole for both primary and secondary.

Newcastle is home to Naomh Finnéi GAA club, which has a fine pitch at Aylmer Road, and also the Peamount United football club, which has a purpose-built facility at Greenogue.

Athgoe South

Newcastle, Co Dublin

Asking price: €1.1m

Agent: Sherry Fitzgerald Lewis (01) 6241234

Indo Property

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