Thursday 21 November 2019

At home in Hamara

This Dalkey home is on the market for the first time in 41 years

Hamara is an imposing red-brick built in 1948, on the corner of Castlepark and Breffni Roads, just half a mile from Dalkey village
Hamara is an imposing red-brick built in 1948, on the corner of Castlepark and Breffni Roads, just half a mile from Dalkey village
One of the light-filled double bedrooms
The ground floor feels bright and spacious and contains three reception rooms - a drawing room, living room and study
The suberb sea view
The airy living room with honeyed maple parquet floor
Katy McGuinness

Katy McGuinness

Built in 1948 by the Macken family of builders for their own occupation, Hamara is a fine, solid family house with over 1,900 sq ft of living space that comes to the market for the first time in 41 years.

The house sits on almost a third of an acre, on the corner of Castlepark Road and Breffni Road, half a mile from Dalkey village. The red bricks of the façade are the same as those used in the construction of St Michael's Hospital in Dún Laoghaire, built around the same time.

The Mackens bought the plot for Hamara and its next-door neighbour from the adjacent Castlepark School, which is still going strong all these years later. It's a school with more than a touch of an English prep about it - the uniforms are delightfully nostalgic and cricket is played in the summer months - and is popular with the expat community in South County Dublin as well as with locals. If the new owners of Hamara are a young family, then their children will be able to walk to school independently from an early age, as there are no roads to cross.

The fine parquet floors in honey- coloured maple throughout the ground floor are one of the indications that the Macken family did not stint when it came to selecting the finishes for their house. On this level, there are three reception rooms - drawing room, living room and study - and a kitchen/breakfast room, although it is likely that new owners may extend out into the garden to facilitate an open-plan internal layout, more suited to contemporary tastes. There's also a guest lavatory.

Upstairs, there are four bedrooms - three doubles and a single. The master bedroom is ensuite and has built-in wardrobes, and there is also a family bathroom. A garage attached to the left of the house offers further possibilities to extend to the side and up, as does a tall, standing-height, floored attic - subject, of course, to planning permission. Although Hamara has been impeccably maintained by the current owners, and is clearly solid and well-constructed, some aspects are dated, and there is plenty of opportunity for new owners to put their own stamp on the house.

Now that the current owners of Hamara are downsizing, it's an opportunity for the family to reflect on what a great house it was to grow up in. There's the garden, for one thing - unusually, most of it is to the front but hidden from view behind tall granite walls that predate the house and heavy Victorian wrought-iron gates salvaged from an older house elsewhere in Dublin. The previous owners put up a large marquee and hosted a family wedding on it, but the current owners remember it more as somewhere to kick a ball around, while elsewhere in the garden there are mature herbaceous borders, a greenhouse and a sun-trap patio area. There is plenty of room for a trampoline, swings and slides, as well as for flower and vegetable growing.

Being so close to the sea, with Bulloch Harbour a few minutes' walk away, swims at The Forty Foot and ice-creams at Teddy's are other fond memories from summers at Hamara. Walks along the coast and down Dún Laoghaire's piers (east if you were feeling lazy, west if energetic), or up Dalkey Hill and down the Cat's Ladder to the Vico Road and back into Dalkey village were another feature of life in the house.

It's a great location, almost equidistant between three Dart stations - Sandycove, Glenageary and Dalkey. Aside from Castlepark, there are several primary schools within walking distance. Loreto Dalkey is a secondary option for girls, while the Dart puts a slew of other secondary schools for both boys and girls, including Blackrock College, St Andrew's and Holy Child Killiney (along with the social opportunity of the daily commute), within independent reach. Sports clubs in the area include the all-conquering Cuala in Dalkey: the club won the All-Ireland Hurling Club Championship at Croke Park last month, and tennis clubs in Sandycove and Glenageary. Dún Laoghaire has four sailing clubs, all with active junior programmes, and is also home to the Irish National Sailing School, where the summer courses are South Co Dublin rite of passage.

Dalkey is one of the most sought- after locations in South Co Dublin, with a diverse range of bars and restaurants, including the ever-popular DeVille's and The Grapevine wine bar. In the other direction, Glasthule gives Dalkey a run for its money with Caviston's, 64 Wine - now open seven days a week with a full restaurant kitchen - and Rasam, one of the best Indian restaurants in the country.


Castlepark Road, Dalkey, Co Dublin

Asking price: €1.5m

Agent: Sherry Fitzgerald Dalkey (01) 2751000

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