Saturday 21 April 2018

Period drama in Portobello

A stone's throw from Synge Street, this vibrant five-bedroom Victorian is located in the pulsing heart of Dublin 8

Stained timber floorboards in the lofty hallway
Stained timber floorboards in the lofty hallway
The exterior has considerable 'kerb appeal'
The dining area with fireplace feature
One of the four double bedrooms (there is also a single at garden level)

Gabrielle Monaghan

Heytesbury Street - which runs parallel to Synge Street - has a starring role in Sing Street, the Golden Globe-nominated musical film featuring Aidan Gillen, Maria Doyle Kennedy and Jack Reynor.

Sandwiched between the two streets are the primary and secondary schools that form Synge Street CBS. The secondary school, which opens onto Heytesbury Street, and its immediate environs were the prime locations for the coming-of-age film, in which a boy sent to a rough Christian Brothers school in the 1980s, because his family can no longer afford his private school, sets up a band to impress a girl.

The film was directed by John Carney, himself a past pupil at Synge Street - or 'Synger', as it was dubbed in the south inner city. Carney is among a long roll call of prominent past pupils; others include broadcasters Eamonn Andrews and Gay Byrne, revolutionary Harry Boland and writer Brian O'Nolan - aka Flann O'Brien, aka Myles na gCopaleen - as well as motor-racing boss Eddie Jordan.

The tree-lined Heytesbury Street, named after the 1st Baron Heytesbury, was built from 1820 as an artery to join Portobello Harbour. Fashionable Portobello was once home to large Jewish congregations. In one chapter of Ulysses, James Joyce describes a "Moses Herzog over there near Heytesbury street".

Stained timber floorboards in the lofty hallway
Stained timber floorboards in the lofty hallway

No. 78 Heytesbury Street, a red-brick Victorian home built in 1838, was no different. According to the 1915 electoral roll, one of its lodgers was called Herbert Smallman. Between 1922 and 2006, the property was owned by members of related Jewish families called the Shefts and the Rivlins.

After buying the protected structure in 2006, the current owner spent two years renovating it - he rewired and replumbed the two-storey-over-basement house, and installed a new central heating system and thermal insulation.

"When the Rivlins had the house, it was divided in three flats and I moved in and converted it into a single residence," says the owner, who lives alone and has put the 2,109 sq ft home on the market because it is more suited to a family.

"There were some crude internal partitions and many of the features, such as a marble fireplace in the living room, were boarded up, as were the stairs to the basement."

The owner retained a slew of period features, such as cornicing, wide-plank flooring, fireplaces and sash windows complete with shutters throughout the three levels.

The house has plenty of kerb appeal - a flight of steps flanked by iron railings leads from the street up to the white front door and archway on the ground floor.

The exterior has considerable 'kerb appeal'
The exterior has considerable 'kerb appeal'

Inside, there is cornicing and a centrepiece to the hallway ceiling, with stained timber floors underfoot and the original staircase straight ahead.

On entering the hallway, to the left is a formal living room that once was inter- connected to the drawing room to the back of the house. The period double-folding doors remain but the rear of this space is now a new kitchen/diner that overlooks the long back garden.

Also on this level is a shower room and a guest WC with a hand basin, shower, and cream-colouring tiling to the wall and floor. The living room also has ceiling cornicing, a picture rail, timber flooring and the original fireplace with its tiled inset.

The first-floor return and its wooden flooring are flooded with natural light from a stained-glass picture sash window, while a Velux window to the ceiling allows in even more light.

On this level are two double bedrooms with high ceilings - one of which has a view of the street - and a large tiled bathroom.

The bottom of the house is the garden level, with its own separate door to the front and a cloakroom, storage room and a WC to the rear. There are two bedrooms to the front of the house - one a double room and one a single, both with views of a tree in the basement-level front garden. A further double bedroom sits at the back of the garden level.

The dining area with fireplace feature
The dining area with fireplace feature

The walled back garden is pretty low- maintenance - it's all pebbled so it can accommodate up to three cars. For some would-be buyers, so much parking may prove a welcome perk so close to the city centre, where parking space is at a premium.

But owning a home just a two-minute walk from Camden Street and a ten-minute walk from the Luas stops at St. Stephen's Green, Harcourt Street and Charlemont may negate the need for cars entirely.

The sale of 78 Heytesbury Street is being handled by Keary Estates (01 6688961) and the asking price is €950,000.

78 Heytesbury Street

Portobello, Dublin 8

Asking price: €950,000

Agent: Keary Estates (01) 6688961

Indo Property

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