Saturday 20 October 2018

The owner of this €1.35m cottage had a Dermot Bannon-style face-off with an architect

  • Carysfort Cottage, 148 Carysfort Park, Blackrock, Co Dublin, Asking price: €1.35m, Agent: Janet Carroll Estate Agent, (01) 288 2020
The patio of Carysfort Cottage
The patio of Carysfort Cottage
A fish tank is built into the wall of the hallway at Carysfort Cottage
Carysfort Cottage bathroom
The cottage's facade
The hall of Carysfort Cottage
The kitchen of Carysfort Cottage
Monacre bedroom
The split-level entrance at Moonacre
Moonacre kitchen
Moonacre drawing room

Gabrielle Monaghan

Think outside the box with two spacious 19th Century homes.

When physical therapist to the stars, Mike "The Bull" Carswell, married wife Grace ten years ago, he thanked developer Joe O'Reilly in his wedding speech for encouraging him to pursue his career and set up a clinic at his home, the 19th-century Carysfort Cottage in Blackrock.

The cottage was used as an on-site office by O'Reilly and the other co-founders of Castlethorn Construction during the building of Carysfort Park. The site, and the cottage, had once formed part of the parkland campus that belonged to Our Lady of Mercy College, Carysfort. Better known as Carysfort College, it trained primary school teachers from 1877 until it shut down in 1988.

A fish tank is built into the wall of the hallway at Carysfort Cottage

O'Reilly, who also conceived his vision for south Dublin shopping mecca Dundrum Town Centre at Carysfort Cottage, suggested that Mike buy the cottage and set up his business there.

"I was Joe's personal trainer and I had studied physical therapy," Mike says. "I started out working from a box-room in a house I rented around the corner. Joe said Carysfort Cottage was available and that 'it would be nice for you'. He was like a guardian angel for my career. So, I bought the cottage in 1999."

By that stage, Mike had already been in Dublin for nine years, having been brought over from South Africa to play rugby for Bective Rangers. Back in South Africa, he had been a schoolboy player for the Springboks and was in the pipeline for the team that beat the All-Blacks in the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the first major sporting event to take place in the newly democratic South Africa.

At Carysfort Cottage, Mike, who retired from rugby in the 1990s due to injury, has treated everyone from members of U2, the Ireland rugby team, and Formula One teams to Olympic athletes.

After Mike acquired the cottage, he turned it from an office back into a home, added a single-storey kitchen extension, and got planning permission for a medical centre there.

With a five-bay parking area and two downstairs therapy rooms with their own entrance, the 2,200-sq ft dormer bungalow could be attractive to a dentist or GP who wants to work from home. Or the new owner could use the property as a five-bed home, says Grace, who imported from the UK the half-door that leads from the utility room to the back garden, laid in low-maintenance sandstone.

Grace, who studied planning, had a Dermot Bannon-style face-off with an architect who led a redesign of the cottage eight years ago, disagreeing over the need for another downstairs bathroom in lieu of a utility.

The kitchen of Carysfort Cottage

Carysfort Cottage is the only stand-alone detached home on its street. "I don't know of any Blackrock street with just one house on it," says selling agent Janet Carroll. That's because it was originally the gardener's cottage on the grounds of Our Lady of Mercy Convent estate in the 19th century.

Off the cottage's tiled entrance hallway, with understairs storage, is an open-plan family room to the left. But the eye is drawn to the fish tank built into the wall between the hallway and the living room. The latter space, which is laid out with laminate flooring and underfloor heating, connects to the kitchen/diner via a set of double-doors.

The highlight of the kitchen is the 3.6m-high ceiling, which is lit by four electrically-operated skylights and by a bank of custom-designed NorDan sliding glass doors that open onto the patio. The kitchen, which has a custom-built island with a black granite counter top and a wine cooler, was designed and fitted by Blackrock Kitchens. Also on the ground floor is a guest WC, a shower room for clients, and a garden-facing bedroom. Upstairs, there are two en suite bedrooms including a master en suite with walk-in wardrobes.

Viewings at Carysfort Cottage will be held between 12pm and 1pm tomorrow.



Killincarrig, Greystones, Co Wicklow

Asking price: €1.225m

Agent: DNG Bray, (01) 2867625


Another million-euro-plus 19th century cottage currently on the market on the east coast is Moonacre, in north Wicklow. Built in 1890, its three patios command views of Greystones Golf Club and the sea from its elevated site.

The 2,841-sq ft home in Killincarrig, Greystones, was restored and upgraded over the past 22 years. Off its entrance porch, which has a vaulted ceiling and the original mosaic floor tiles, is a guest lavatory with the original Dockrell wash-basin.

The split-level entrance hall has original timber flooring and leads to a drawing room, with a bay window overlooking the front garden, and a sitting room. Both have solid fuel stoves. The vendors converted the original snug and dining room into a large master en-suite with a dressing room and its own conservatory.

They also extended and further insulated the property in 2010 and designed an open-plan kitchen/breakfast room that makes the most of the views. There's also a utility room.

Off the first-floor landing, which is lit by a skylight, two rooms were amalgamated into one bedroom, with the vaulted ceilings and original fireplace retained in the process. Also on this level is a family bathroom and three further double bedrooms, including a dual-aspect bedroom with an en-suite, and a bedroom with sea views.

Moonacre drawing room

The period property, which is bordered by mature hedging and fencing and has double entrance gates with stone pillars, is just a 1.6km walk, via a pedestrian pathway through the golf club, to Greystones village, the Dart, and the beach.

Moonacre is on view tomorrow between 3pm and 4pm.

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