Inside this Rathgar six-bedroom villa complete with an AGA for €2.175m
A Rathgar villa recalls an era of masters and servants
When Cranford House in Rathgar was built in 1834, the locale was largely rural and dominated by market gardening and dairying.
Dublin had been in rapid decline since the Act of Union and was fast becoming an unhealthy and impoverished place in which to live. The advent of Emancipation in 1829 also meant Catholics were beginning to take control of the city's local authority.
This didn't sit well with the wealthy Anglo classes who had traditionally dominated city life and they began looking further afield in search of a city proximate location in which to regroup.
Set up in 1847, the Rathmines and Rathgar Urban Township was an autonomous unionist-led local authority region brought about to govern over Rathmines, Rathgar and Ranelagh. Using lands controlled largely by the Pembroke Estate, a new surge of development began to take place here to provide homes for the wealthier families moving out.
But once ensconced in their new township, the homeonwers needed servants to run and maintain their big villa and terrace style abodes.
So they brought poorer Catholic city dwellers out in vast numbers to work as servants and nannies. So many servants arrived that a new church was required.
The Church of the Three Patrons, was opened in 1860 - built using a fund saved by those servants based in Rathgar, who didn't have enough time to get to mass and back in Rathmines.
The 'upstairs downstairs' relationship of that century is reflected in Cranford House. Constructed in the regency villa style, it spans almost 4,000 sq ft and its elaborate cornicing, ornate joinery and rich stained-glass window panels reflected the wealth of the original owners.
A remnant of the days when servants did all the work in houses like these is the old bell panel in the kitchen. The master or mistress of the house would pull a chord (later they'd press a button) from any of the receptions or the bedrooms. This set off a bell in the kitchen display panel with a vibrating disc to indicate which room required service.
And a hint at the once rural aspect of the area is Cranford's very long driveway from the Rathgar Road. According to the agents, this stretches to 100 metres. The site itself measures a half acre, which is unusual for this area. Cranford also comes with a two-storey mews, which was likely the home's former stable block.
The six-bedroom house has been restored and reworked by its current owners of 30 years and includes its original period white marble chimney pieces in all of its main reception rooms. These include a drawing room, a dining room and a study and are arranged at entrance level along with two double bedrooms and a main bathroom. Downstairs is still the home's engine room - the tiled kitchen/dining room in a rustic rural style with a timber beamed ceiling, a red tiled floor with a robust cream coloured and alcove house AGA as its centrepiece. There's a pantry, a utility room and a family room on this level along with a 10 metre long timber-framed conservatory with a smart white tiled floor. The other four bedrooms (one with its own dressing room) are also accommodated on this floor. The period style bathrooms are especially attractive, one with a stand alone claw foot tub on a checkerboard tile floor, the other surrounded with attractive green-stained timber panelling. The two-storey mews building adjoining the main house has been converted into a teenager's games den. This could easily undergo conversation as a decent sized residence with obvious potential for rental income at €3,000 per month.
125 Rathgar Road,
Rathgar, Dublin 6
Asking price: €2.175m
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald (01) 4966066