It's sluggish at the upper end of the market in parts of Dublin these days, with properties priced at over €1m taking their time to sell. The air, as estate agents are wont to say, is thin up there. As a result, there is a glut of large period houses in some areas, but a shortage of smaller properties.
So instead of buying a whole period house in Killiney, why not buy half of one - the upper half with the best views?
This penthouse apartment at Wyvern House on Killiney Road may be of interest to those down-sizing from larger houses nearby, close to friends and in a neighbourhood that has plenty to offer in the way of beautiful walks and scenery, without having to sacrifice urban convenience.
Killiney Road runs up towards Killiney Castle Hotel from the Killiney Towers roundabout. Wyvern House lies on the left, near the top, just a few minutes' walk from the Castle. The gym and swimming pool here are great local amenities, and the hotel continues to be a popular local meeting place.
Wyvern House is one of Killiney's big houses and dates from around 1850. It was built by Robert Warren, who owned Killiney Castle in the mid-19th century and added mock-medieval turrets and battlements to the original Georgian house.
Warren also built Victoria Castle, now owned by Enya, and was the biggest landowner in the area for a time. The story goes that he built Wyvern for his son, with whom he had a falling out, at around the same time that he constructed the high walls around the Castle.
Wyvern's land was sold off over the years and it is now surrounded by suburban estates, one also named Wyvern, where the Glenageary Killiney National School, under the patronage of the Anglican Church, is located. (A wyvern, by the way, is a mythical two-legged winged dragon found in medieval heraldry. None are believed to have been spotted in the Killiney area for some time.)
Wyvern House was owned for many years by Donald Pratt of Avoca Handweavers and it was he who converted it into four apartments back in 2001. Louise Clarke, the current owner, came to see one of the two smaller apartments at garden level, which were priced within her budget, but the selling agent took her for a look at the penthouse and she was seduced by the views.
She scrambled around for additional funds to secure it, and has not regretted that decision for a moment.
She and her family are only now moving on because they are running out of space - they hope to stay in the area.
The Penthouse is accessed via an external staircase and occupies the top floor of Wyvern House. There's a generous 1258 sq ft of living space in rooms that would have been bedrooms in the original house, with proportions far grander than one would find in a modern apartment. There are 15ft ceilings and period features include ceiling cornicing, working shutters and original pitch pine floorboards. The living room has a marble fireplace with cast iron surround.
The accommodation consists of a large living/dining room, a compact kitchen, two double bedrooms and a family bathroom. The master bedroom is ensuite and has its own dressing room. Off the kitchen is a small balcony with enough space for a table to seat four.
The elevated site means there are spectacular views from all the windows towards the city, Dublin Bay and Howth, and back to Killiney Hill.
Outside, there are communal gardens with mature planting, two designated parking spaces and a garden shed for storage. The management fee comes in at €1,500 per annum. Although there is a convenience store in Killiney Village, bustling Dalkey offers more in the way of shops, restaurants and other amenities. The Dart stations at Dalkey and Glenageary are both within walking distance of Wyvern, although the walk home from both necessitates an uphill climb. The 59 bus and AirCoach service to Dublin Airport are also convenient.