Saturday 19 January 2019

This €1.15m Dublin home faces onto the beach and has views of islands and a lighthouse

Both electricity and the internet have their Irish origins in Falcarragh

Falcarragh, second from left
The dining room with double doors to the sunroom
A period fireplace
The entrance hall and front door
The kitchen is of the period
The upstairs living room with sea views
The downpipes have been replaced
Rail detail on the stairs
Mark Keenan

Mark Keenan

Every town has a go-getter - the one who organises, mobilises and in some cases, modernises. In the early 20th century the go-getter at Skerries was William Herbert Flanagan. Today he is best known as the man who lit up the Dublin seaside town with electricity long before the ESB was founded in 1927.

His electric service commenced in 1914 and saw Skerries not only lit with electricity, but cooking with it and dancing under its lights, thanks to Flanagan who set up a pilot generating station in the town. As a local entrepreneur when Skerries was a seaside resort for Dubliners, Flanagan was also responsible for building the area's first public baths as well as a local concert and dance hall, and through his Electric Theatre (what else?) he brought the first 'moving pictures' to Skerries.

At the back of the hall were the rooms where Flanagan housed his electricity generating station. Artists that appeared at "the Pav" included Count John McCormack, Percy French, Jimmy O'Dea, Cyril Cusack, Hilton Edwards and Micheál MacLiammóir. His 'Pavilion' complex at the South Strand was latterly a hotel but sadly knocked down for apartments.

When he wasn't generating electricity and new enterprises, Flanagan retired in the evenings to his family home at Falcarragh, one of the Victorian homes built facing the beach at Holmpatrick.

The upstairs living room with sea views
The upstairs living room with sea views

In 2000 the house was acquired from the Flanagan family by a modern day go-getter - Michael Branagan and his wife Alison Ryan. Michael can be credited with providing one of the first public internet services to Ireland when he founded the Indigo provider - in the mid-1990s.

More recently, with the former seaside tourist town now lacking a single hotel, Michael and Alison have been pushing a plan to build a modern eco hotel with dancing and function facilities and a swimming pool (worth €40m) as well as a development of state-of-the-art eco homes.

They plan these in tandem with the German eco builder Baufritz at a 25 acre site they own at Holmpatrick Cove. However the scheme got a knock-back when it was recently refused by An Bord Pleanala. That the Branagan Ryans are not giving up is testified to by their other plan to sell their home of 18 years to move into their new development-to-be.

To new occupants they leave Falcarragh, which faces right on to the renowned South Strand and a picture view which includes a number of islands as well as the Rockabill lighthouse.

This house has most of its original 1890s features intact. The sunroom at the front has been designed to take best advantage of the sea views. This is contained in a Hampton Conservatory built of mahogany, double glazed, timber floored and there are French doors leading to both the garden and into the dining room/living room. The roof is built to balcony specification.

The double sized dining room and living room opens into the sunroom allowing an extra large area for entertaining at home. The living room has a Belle Cheminee fireplace with a Stanley stove installed in the hearth and while the room has been refloored, the original boards still lie intact under the new version. The library has its original wrought iron fireplace and also comes with a Stanley stove in the hearth.


The kitchen is period in style and still has the arch that would have held a cooking stove when the house was constructed. Today there's a Stanley burner while the floor is tiled in a style befitting of the period. Off this is the original scullery with a kitchen sink and a hot press and there's also a utility room plumbed for a washing machine, and this room is also vented for a tumble dryer.

On the first floor return is a shower room and wc and there are two bedrooms here, one of which comes with its original cast-iron fireplace.

Unusually, but practically, there's a first floor living room which enjoys sea views from two picture windows. Its Belle Cheminee fireplace has a gas fire. The room is floored in timber and has its original coving.

On the second floor is the master bedroom and the fourth bedroom. The former comes with skylights, built-in wardrobes, original fireplace and an en-suite with a bath and shower. Bedroom four has its original fireplace and fitted wardrobes.

LED lighting is installed throughout the house, often on dimmers. The house is fitted with Cat 5V wiring and the heating is natural gas and there's a Hive home heating system and Stira ladder to the attic.

The roof, gutters and downpipes were replaced and insulated in 2012 and a firewall was installed with the adjoining property. This house also comes with a detached garage/workshop with electric roller shutters with room for one car and this is accessible from a lane.

The dining room with double doors to the sunroom
The dining room with double doors to the sunroom

Planning permission has also been granted to extend the house to the rear over two floors which will increase its accommodation significantly. Local agent Shea Kelly seeks €1.15m for the character, the history and the views.


Holmpatrick, Skerries, Co Dublin

Asking price: €1.15m

Agent: Kelly& Co, (01) 8491155

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