Sunday 17 December 2017

Top prospect in Kilternan... converted former schoolhouse

A luxury home in D18 was originally built as a school for miners' children

The converted former schoolhouse in Kilternan
The converted former schoolhouse in Kilternan
The modern kitchen is well-equipped
A glass wall offers light, airy accommodation and makes the most of views over the surrounding countryside
The front of the house leaves plenty of room for parking or even a kick-about with the kids
The dedicated gym space
The extensive gardens should provide time to relax
Mark Keenan

Mark Keenan

Tooth and claw capitalism has seldom been noted for its enthusiasm for building schools, but the luxury home that is today The Old Schoolhouse on the Ballycorus Road in Kilternan, Dublin 18, was originally constructed as an educational establishment for minors by a ruthless Victorian mining company noted for strongarm strike breaking and dreadful conditions - to the degree that the location of its lead mine was notoriously known as "Death Valley".

In the minutes of the biannual meeting of the Mining Company of Ireland, held in Dublin in January 1861, we find the origins of the Ballycorus school and the motives of the Mining Company for building it.

But first the company secretary Mr Codd runs through the firm's progress in tackling a worker's strike over conditions caused, he notes, by "some evil disposed persons in our employment". Codd details the outlay necessary to pay for "a considerable constabulary force sent down by the Government" to deal with it.

Next he relates how an investment in a new flue chimney (now a local landmark) will pay for itself within "three sweepings". What he doesn't mention is that the workers sent into the flue to scrape off the resulting lead deposits by hand most usually died in a short period from lead poisoning while their families were sickened by the fumes spilling out of it.

Finally, he announces plans for building a local school on the following grounds: "If you allow an idle and Godless population to spring up around your works, the result must be serious injuries to your property... I can assure the proprietors that some of the best clerks I have ever seen are lads in our different establishments who were educated in the national schools supported by us."

And so work got underway and the building. The mines closed just before the First World War, but the building remained a local national school right up until 1970.

Located in Kilternan on the southern fringes of Dublin, it was later converted into a residence by the well known architectural firm of De Blacam and Meagher, initially to 2,500 sq ft and more recently extended again to 4,000 sq ft. The entrance hall has an Artefaction bespoke fireplace with a wood burning stove and from here you access the main receptions - the drawing room with another commissioned fireplace of note. The open dining room and family room comes with an 18ft high vaulted ceiling and double doors leading out to the patio.

The ceilings are 13ft high in the hall, lounge and kitchen areas. Also off the hallway is one of the home's biggest selling points, the kitchen and breakfast room. The kitchen is from Enigma Design House and comes in black solid walnut.

It is equipped with a catering standard Britannia chef's range with eight gas burners and a double oven. There's a coffee machine, microwave and warming drawers from Neff, Fisher and Paykel dishwashers and an American-style double fridge freezer.

The open-plan study is from Oakline design and there are four bedrooms on the ground floor, two of which have their own ensuites with a family bathroom for the other two.

The fifth master chamber is upstairs with a dressing room and his and hers ensuites. This also has two balconies on either side from which to enjoy the views.

For security, there's a CCTV system with an alarm as well as automated electric gates and an audio video intercom system.

Much of the flooring is in smoked oak and there's a solid oak staircase with Crema Marfil tiles used elsewhere.

The windows are also designed to last as they're hardwood double glazed and hand painted 'Little Greene'.

Small details are taken care of throughout with touches like the high-spec brushed chrome light switch plates and sockets, and there is recessed lighting throughout. For a house of its vintage it also has some reasonably decent eco credibility with a zoned heating system, two pressurised water systems and certified EZero foam high grade insulation through the atrium roofs, all of which help to give the house a respectable C3 BER rating. There's a log cabin on the two acre site which houses the family gym, while the manicured garden has been designed by Michael Goode.

Not long ago, this area would have been considered countryside and the owners of the Old School House report a decent amount of wildlife visiting the garden, including deer, badgers, pheasants and herons. The gardens currently have a small wooded space with chestnuts and elderflowers.

It's also straight down hill to Sandyford where many of Ireland's best known employers are located, among them Microsoft. Further down again is the Dundrum Shopping Centre with its world brands and cinema complex. In the other direction is Enniskerry, Powerscourt and Glendalough. If two acres is too much, a second entrance to the Ballycorus Road suggests potential for carving loose a section of the site for additional development.

The original school portion of the house stands in rugged cut granite, suggesting that the Mining Company of Ireland intended turning out canny well-behaved young clerks for generations to come. Sherry Fitzgerald (01) 2894386 is prospecting for €1.85m.

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