Wednesday 21 February 2018

Glasnevin pillar of the community

Edwardian home sets the standard in Dublin 9, writes Katy McGuinness
6 Gartan Avenue
Glasnevin, Dublin 9
Asking price: €945,000
Agent: Quillsen (01) 8500900

6 Gartan Avenue
6 Gartan Avenue
The stairs from the hallway
The sunroom

Crampton, Stringer, and Strain. If we were able to look into a crystal ball and see a century into the future, would the names of any of the current crop of housebuilders and developers inspire the same level of confidence as these upstanding Edwardians?

When it comes to Dublin housing stock from the early decades of the 20th century, these are the names for which to watch out - builders of integrity who understood the value of a good brand just as well as any modern marketeer.

The houses they built were as solid as they were - cutting corners was not an option. And the fact that a century later estate agents still use their names to sell houses, as a shorthand for quality, is testament to their success.

Alexander Strain was a native of Armagh, but is primarily associated with the building of quality, mainly semi-detached, houses on Dublin's northside, many of them in Drumcondra and Glasnevin. Strain himself lived in some of the houses that he built, residing at different times in houses on Iona Park, Drive and Road, before retiring to the Cremore Estate nearby.

Strain was a pillar of the Presbyterian church, and sat on the board of Drumcondra Hospital. He was known for being a benevolent employer, looking after his workers and their families if they fell ill or behind with repayments.

As a housebuilder, Strain had a good eye, and a fine sense of design and detail. Many of the houses built by him bear his hallmarks of stained glass, ceiling coving, cornicing, picture rails and bay windows - these are all features that remain intact at No6 Gartan Avenue. The 1911 Census shows the house as having been occupied by a Patrick Hughes and his wife, Mary, their six children and a domestic servant.

The bathroom of No. 6
The bathroom of No. 6

Hughes was a civil servant employed as a staff officer in the 'Stamps and Taxes' department.

With nine people living in the house, including six children under the age of nine, it must have been a bit of a squash and one can only imagine the morning queue for the bathroom. But now, having been extended over the years, No6 has 181 sq metres of living space and five bedrooms, making it a substantial family home and one that's more than big enough for today's more modest families.

It's a handsome red-brick house, with a distinctive Edwardian facade, featuring granite plinths, sills and steps. There's off-street parking to the front and an east facing 50ft garden planted with mature trees and shrubs to the rear. A brick-built storage shed might lend itself to other uses in the future, subject to planning permission.

The entrance porch leads through a stained glass hall door into an elegant entrance hall with original polished wooden floor boards. There's a guest lavatory under the stairs. The sitting room occupies the bay-windowed reception room to the front, where there is a fine marble fireplace with tiled inset and some more lovely stained glass at the top of the bay windows.

Double bedroom with a skylight
Double bedroom with a skylight

Sliding double doors lead to the dining room to the rear, which has another marble fireplace and access to the side patio. The kitchen/breakfast room is to the back of the house and is fitted with a range of floor and wall units. There is a door from here to the side passage and double doors to the sunroom - a bright area with walls of glass and patio doors to the rear garden.

On the return, there is a double bedroom and the family bathroom, with a free-standing bath and separate shower, while on the first floor are three further bedrooms, two doubles and a single. The fifth bedroom, another double, is on the top floor and has its own ensuite shower room. Gartan Avenue lies between Lindsay Road and Iona Road, a few minutes' walk from the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin Cemetery and the Bon Secours Hospital. It is 2km from the city centre, making the prospect of walking or cycling to work a realistic one. The M50 and Dublin Airport are both within a 15 minute drive.

Local primary schools include St Vincent's Boys NS, St Columba's Girls NS, St Brigid's Girls NS, Lindsay Road NS (co-ed), Educate Together NS (co-ed) and Glasnevin NS (co-ed). The girls' senior schools in the area are St Mary's and Scoil Chaitriona, while the local boys' secondary school is St Vincent's CBS.

DCU and St Patrick's Training College are also close by, and Trinity College and UCD are both accessible via direct bus routes. Local sports clubs include Na Fíanna GAA Club, Glasnevin Tennis Club, Charleville Lawn Tennis Club, and Shandon Pitch & Putt Club.

Glasnevin is one of Dublin's most desirable suburbs these days and offers an increasing selection of cafes and restaurants. Two Boys Brew on the North Circular Road is one of the city's hottest lunch and brunch spots - at the weekend the queues stretch all the way down the street - and The Washerwoman is another popular local restaurant.

One of the reception rooms
One of the reception rooms

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