If the house at 2 Poddle Park in Kimmage, Dublin 12 looks every inch an idyllic country cottage, that's because when Guinnesses built it for one of their managers, this part of Dublin was still very much in the sticks.
Constructed in 1916, No2 might also be the second only worker's house to be constructed by the giant brewers in Dublin (after No1). While it had already built flats in the city centre for its workers, the handful of homes along here were among the first in the series of Guinness houses that followed.
At the end of the 19th century, the Guinness plant at James's Gate, was threatened by contagion affecting its massive workforce. The plant had already been through the Dublin cholera epidemic and most of its workers lived in one-room slums plagued with tubercolosis, measles and scarlet fever, which killed large in those days.
Edward Cecil Guinness donated €250,000, a huge sum then, to infectious disease research and decided that providing decent housing for workers was a big investment worth making.
Starting in 1903 with the red-brick flats at Bull Alley (there was a smallpox outbreak during construction) the firm moved on to more blocks at Kevin Street and then constructed a working man's hotel (now the Iveagh Hostel).
After building the Iveagh Markets, the Iveagh Gardens, the Iveagh Children's School and the Iveagh Baths, all for workers' use, the firm eyed up cheaper land outside the city boundaries.
Managers' homes were constructed from 1 Poddle Park up through Clonard Road from 1916 using a high-quality granite and brick in a country cottage style. Later the brewer's housing operative plunged into the area with larger schemes of workers' homes at the Iveagh Gardens in Crumlin, on the Crumlin Road and elsewhere in the D12 area.
The Iveagh Trust, which Guinness set up, still houses people today, with its latest scheme providing new homes at Clay Farm in D18.
Generations of families have lived at this early Guinness house in D12, and among those to start extending and doing them up was designer Caroline Kilkenny, who put hers on the market three years ago after doubling its size.
Cork-born software development manager Paul Edmunds and his wife Frances, a psychologist, bought No2 six years ago when it was still very much in its original two-up two-down form.
"It was in pretty good condition but the layout didn't really suit us. It had two rooms upstairs and two downstairs and at some point the back downstairs room had been split to provide a bathroom and a tiny third bedroom. A lean-to had been added to provide a kitchen. While the garden was generous, it was full of stone sheds which blocked views of the garden."
The Edmunds family intended making the best use possible of the large garden, provided originally for veg growing.
"We called in architect Damian Sheerin from Balbriggan to undertake a reconfiguration and extension. We told him we wanted the lean-to demolished along with the sheds, the dividing wall in the back room removed and to extend out and up. We got a lovely modern kitchen and dining room facing out into the garden, and upstairs we added a bathroom and two bedrooms to bring it up to a four-bed.
"We had to think about the look of the extension at the back. A period look just wasn't practical. Damian came up with the idea of a completely modern extension fronted with white brick."
The project took eight months all in to complete, thanks in part to the sterling work of Dominic Caulfield, their builder from Crescentfield Construction.
And so the Edmunds family ended up with half a modern house added on again at the back to the existing century-old property. But now the family are relocating to Paul's home town in Co Cork and the house is for sale for €650,000 through Sherry FitzGerald.
For the most part the old section remains original, with restored original windows to the front, original joinery and three old-time cast-iron chimney pieces.
The ground level has been floored in oak parquet with under-floor heating and includes a hall, living room, and the open-plan kitchen/diner/living room. The kitchen area includes quartz worktops, a separate pantry and a Quooker tree combi tap. There's a wet shower room with a rain water shower, four bedrooms, and a main bathroom with a bath and rainwater shower.
The west-facing garden has a sandstone patio and spans 60 feet.
Now the pubs are back, the nearest Guinness can be got at the KCR House.