Wednesday 23 October 2019

Apple of the orchard

Plenty of light fills this four-bed home set in the gardens of the former Cooldrinagh House Estate

Living room with exposed timber beams and ceiling
Living room with exposed timber beams and ceiling
Dual-aspect bedroom
Dining room at no 3 The Walled Orchard
The kitchen
The exterior
The staircase and hallway

Gabrielle Monaghan

May Beckett was 35 years old when she gave birth to her second son, Samuel, in 1906 at Cooldrinagh, the mock-Tudor house built by her affluent quantity surveyor husband William on the corner of Kerrymount Avenue and Brighton Road in Foxrock.

May had met Willie at the Adelaide Hospital, where she was working as a nurse and where he was recovering from pneumonia. Beckett's work as a dramatist, novelist and poet was influenced by his complicated relationship with his mother, who he perceived to be a moody and overly-devout Protestant who contributed towards a repressive atmosphere in his childhood home.

Indeed, Beckett found Ireland so stifling that he spent most of his adulthood in Paris, where he became friends with fellow exile James Joyce, abandoned his mother tongue, and even joined the Resistance during World War II.

May had named Cooldrinagh after the house where she was born in 1871 on the outskirts of the Kildare town of Leixlip, albeit within the confines of Co Dublin. The original Cooldrinagh House was described by James Knowlson, Beckett's biographer, as "a very grand house, almost a mansion, dating from 1760, with imposing pillars at the front door, a flight of stone steps and a cast iron balustrade".

Dual-aspect bedroom
Dual-aspect bedroom

It had fallen into despair, until it was restored 20 years ago and transformed into Beckett's Hotel, named in honour of the avant-garde playwright. Part of the former Cooldrinagh House estate is now home to The Walled Orchard, a gated development set within the walls of Cooldrinagh Demesne's former gardens and located directly in front of Becketts Hotel.

No 3 The Walled Orchard, which has just come on the market, is one of four individually-designed detached homes in the enclave that were developed a decade ago to tap into demand from upwardly mobile owners of the three-beds that dominate the Lucan area for larger properties in the leafy west Dublin region.

After accessing the development's electronically controlled security gates by smartphone, No 3 is approached via a gravelled driveway. The two-storey, double-fronted property has 2,629 sq ft of space, all laid out amid mature landscaped gardens.

The exterior of the timber-framed house is finished in plaster, complemented by hardwood double-glazed windows and Juliet balconies to the front of the first-floor French doors.

The front entrance leads to a double-height hallway with a wool carpet underfoot and to a sweeping curved staircase. Off to the right of the hall is a dual-aspect living room with exposed wooden pine beams and a pine ceiling, an ornate fireplace, and a deep-pile wool carpet.

French doors from this space opens on to a large decking area with views of a beech hedge and lawn - an ideal backdrop for entertaining guests alfresco (albeit in less blizzard-like conditions).

Dining room at no 3 The Walled Orchard
Dining room at no 3 The Walled Orchard

On the left-hand side of the hall is another reception room with solid oak flooring and a view of the front garden. The room is currently used by the vendors as a bedroom, but could easily be transformed into a family room or home office.

To the rear of the hall is a breakfast/dining room with porcelain tiles: this space is divided from the kitchen by a walled archway. The kitchen is fitted with grey floor tiles, cream-coloured wall and floor units, granite worktops and integrated appliances. A guest lavatory located underneath the staircase, as well as a utility room with the same colour and finish to the storage units as the kitchen, complete the downstairs accommodation.

Upstairs, there is a gallery-style landing with access to a large attic that is suitable for a future conversion.

There are four double bedrooms - two of which are ensuite - on the first floor. All the bedrooms feature wooden beams and ceilings, and double doors that overlook a Juliet balcony.

The dual-aspect master bedroom (one of the windows is south-facing) is located to the rear of the floor and has been fitted with wooden flooring and slide robes. Its tiled ensuite is equipped with a stand-alone shower and white sanitary ware.

Like the master bedroom, the second ensuite bedroom also has wooden floors and a dual aspect. The two other bedrooms are fitted with wardrobes.

Also on the first floor is a four-piece family bathroom with a jacuzzi bath and tiling to the walls and floor.

With such an abundance of pine, the next residents may consider updating the property. They could also turn the detached garage into a home gym or study.

The house was built before the introduction of the latest building energy regulations, so it has a C2 BER, which means annual utility bills will likely amount to €3,600.

The gas-fired central heating provides underfloor heating throughout the property and there's no need to lug a vacuum cleaner around the floors - the house is equipped with a Beam central vacuum system from Electrolux.

Cooldrinagh itself is a short walk away from the banks of the Liffey and close to access to the M4 and M50 motorways. There are also rail services to Dublin city centre from Leixlip.

3 The Walled Orchard

Cooldrinagh, Lucan, Co Dublin

Asking price: €820,000

Agent: Sherry FitzGerald Lucan (01) 624 1234

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