In the heart of Rathmines: Period home with children's summer paddling pool
Coolattin 292 Lower Rathmines Rd, Rathmines, Dublin 6: €975,000
'It always reminds me of the bit in Harry Potter when he first goes to Diagon Alley," says the vendor of Coolattin, which you enter via a painted black blink-and-you'll-miss-it door tucked away between The Natural Bakery and The Carphone Warehouse on the Lower Rathmines Road.
The door leads to a short passage between the shops, and up a flight of granite steps to a pair of early Victorian houses.
The one on the left is divided into apartments, while the one on the right is a family home. The current owners have lived here for four years - they bought for €775,000 - and are moving on for no other reason than that they feel "itchy".
"It's the longest that we've ever spent in one home," they say, explaining that after years of living in the US, moving every couple of years, they now feel ready to take on a renovation project in Dublin and are on the hunt for something suitable.
The major restoration work on Coolattin was done a decade ago, so the current owners had very little to do when they moved in other than some minor cosmetic and decorative work. (There's a particularly lovely shade of Zoffany blue in the formal reception rooms.) Most of the period features, including cornicing, working shutters and some nice stained glass, are intact, and the restored sash windows are double-glazed, which means that, despite the location, the house - which is not a protected structure - is very quiet and has a C1 BER.
The living space is arranged over three floors. The large kitchen on the lower level has smart fitted units and no fewer than three ovens; the wet room and laundry room are adjacent. On the return between the lower and entrance levels is a nice bright playroom, which could be a fourth bedroom.
The entrance floor is arranged as two formal reception rooms - the dining room to the front, the living room to the rear. Both have working fireplaces.
On the next return up is a home office, and on the first floor, three double bedrooms. The master is en suite and has some slick fitted wardrobes by Morenza. Up at the top of the house on the final return is the family bathroom.
Outside, the garden designed by Susan Maxwell is nicely landscaped, over two levels, with plenty of space for barbecuing and eating outdoors. On Google Maps, you'll see the children's summer paddling pool.
The vendors and their two young daughters have loved living in the thick of things in the centre of Rathmines, within walking distance of the DIT Music Conservatory where one girl is learning the harp, the Swan Leisure Centre for swimming lessons, the multiplex cinema for family movies, as well as Ernesto's coffee shop for sustenance and chats with the neighbours. They like the pizzas at Tiger, less than a minute's walk away, but Rathmines is also home to Hey Donna, the latest restaurant from Joe Macken, and Shakshuka from the people behind the Silk Road Cafe in the Chester Beatty Library. The newly re-opened Stella Cinema is as handy for a glass of wine as it is for a movie.
The Swan Shopping Centre has had a major re-vamp in recent times and is now home to a fancy Dunnes (complete with Sheridan's counter and its own James Whelan Butchers concession), Fallon & Byrne food shop, and The Hopsack, stocked with every healthy thing to eat that you have ever heard of, and plenty more besides. Down the road a short distance there's Connolly's for fish and D6's favourite butcher, Lawlor's.
Dublin 6 is well-served in terms of schools, with plenty of choice for both primary and secondary. There's a frequent bus service into the city centre.
The only obvious downside to Coolattin is the absence of designated or on-street parking, although the house comes with three residents' parking permits and the owners say that there are always spaces on nearby Charleville Road.
They have only one car because they say they walk almost everywhere, and that they can be in town in 20 minutes at a brisk clip.
Era: circa 1836
Agent: Young's (01) 497 5581
Viewing: By appointment