This home on Blackrock's old 'Riviera' has coastal views, private access to a jetty and a bathing area
1 Maretimo Gardens, East Blackrock, Co Dublin
Asking price: €1.395m
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald (01) 288 0088
In the late 1700s, Blackrock was Dublin's Riviera. It was also the unofficial seat of British rule in Ireland and the nest of a plot to exert a tighter grip on the country by the British.
The focus of the Blackrock set was two summer holiday homes. Blackrock House at Newtown Avenue was built by the Lee family and rented out during the summers to successive Lords Lieutenants of Ireland (the British appointees in charge of running Ireland), including among them Lord Rutland and the Marquess of Buckingham. The former was a well-known party animal who died of claret consumption; the latter was denounced by Henry Grattan both for 'extravagance' and bribery on a large scale. The parties were big ones.
Rutland was known for his excessive banquets at Dublin Castle and his glamorous wife, Lady Mary, was a celebrated beauty queen and society hostess on both sides of the water.
Lord Cloncurry's Maretimo House was constructed next door, with 30 rooms and later had private swimming baths, ice cooler houses and decorative outdoor garden 'temples' added. The Blackrock summer set who met at these homes and in their extensive gardens schemed and plotted to undermine Grattan's Parliament in Dublin and to work towards the 1800 Act of Union. Famously, bribery was used on a huge scale to tip the vote, one by one for dissolution. They succeeded and from 1801 onwards, the power wielded by Blackrock summer set had increased greatly.
Of course, the viceregal set also came for boating, fishing, bathing, drinking, dining and to dress up for the opulent evening events held in the lavish houses they built on the Blackrock seafront.
But when the rail link to Dublin arrived in the 1830s, it both separated their summer gardens from the sea and brought in the hoi polloi - eager, ironically, to emulate the new Queen Victoria's penchant for seaside sojourns.
In the second half of the 19th century, the high life resumed for a time when Thomas Vance, the boss of the Vance and Beers clothing empire, took over Blackrock House. He was involved in the Gresham Hotel, the Royal Insurance Company and the Dublin United Tramways Company, among several others. In his spare time, along with managing orphanages, the conservative politician liked evening soirées and sailing his yacht about the bay before tying up behind Blackrock House.
In the 1930s, a builder named Archer bought the lands from both houses to develop new estate homes for Dublin's growing middle classes. Soon after he completed Maretimo Gardens East and West, with half of the houses enjoying the magnificent eagles' nest garden sea views, formerly restricted to the two great houses. In the 1970s, Maretimo House was demolished and its ruins and its exotic garden architecture are still evident behind the Maretimo Gardens.
In latter years there has been a new push by the capital's wealthy set to get into this little enclave. One after another, the 1930s homes have been acquired, stripped out, and extended in all directions, by CEOs, company owners and the sailing set.
They have been bagged for the unbeatable sea views at the rear, and shared access on one side to Vance's Harbour for tethering yachts, named after Thomas Vance. Most recently, number 8, which got this treatment, sold for a price just under €2m.
Now number 1 Maretimo Gardens East has been placed for sale. It's one of the few homes on the sea side which have not yet been reworked for the 21st century. That said, the semi detached is in pretty good condition. Being number 1, it also has a larger site, which has had a single-storey frontal extension added. This offers the opportunity for a substantial second-storey extension, which can greatly increase the size of an already substantial four-bed property.
At the back, from its extensive deck, it has unadulterated views across the city coastline, taking in Aviva Stadium down to Howth Head, as well as private access to a jetty, a pedestrian bridge over the tracks and a seldom used bathing area. The 75ft garden is terraced down to a gate to the private route over the bridge to the bathing area and the jetty.
Accommodation includes an entrance hall with a hard wood floor and under stairs storage, along with a walk-in pantry and cloak area. The dining room comes with a Victorian cast iron chimney piece with tiled inset, ceiling coving and a parquet floor.
Sliding doors lead through to the living room with a large picture window overlooking Dublin Bay, also with a cast iron chimney piece. There's a sun room/conservatory making use of the same views while the kitchen is done with cherrywood units and granite worktops, ceramic tiled floor, dual Belfast sink, Bosch four-plate gas hob, De Dietrich warmer plate and Bosch oven with overhead extractor hood and fan and a utility off it. This leads on again to the garage. There's a play room and a wet room with a Triton T80 shower installed.
The master bedroom has a balcony overlooking the sea and three more bedrooms, one used currently as a study.
Sherry FitzGerald seeks offers in the region of €1.395m.