In Flann O'Brien's short story, "The Story of John Duffy's Brother," a man who is going through a breakdown starts to believe that he is a train servicing north Dublin and he makes his way to work chuffing and puffing through the street.
Milverton, a recently constructed dormer residence of big family proportions in the North County is located within walking distance of the train station at Skerries, and therefore within a half hour of Dublin city centre by rail link. So there's no need to have a breakdown getting to work.
For those living on the outer extremes of the North County, rail links are vital and therefore proximity to the stations are a strong selling point for a property like Milverton, which has just been placed on the market.
Skerries was also namechecked among O'Brien's works featuring in the "The Dalkey Archive." Skerries is the location of the narrator's meeting with James Joyce after De Selby has learns that Joyce has returned from the continent.
"…Joyce isn't dead at all. He is living in retirement and a sort of disguise at Skerries, a small watering place 21 miles N. of Dublin. He has been trying to screw up enough courage to join the Jesuits."
De Selby tracks Joyce down to a bar on the outskirts of Skerries, but Joyce denies all knowledge of "that filthy book" Ulysses.
Milverton, a recently constructed family home in the North County is located within walking distance of the train station at Skerries
Fast forward half a century and Bloomsday is approaching. It's Monday morning, and the sun is shining in Skerries, the pretty North County Dublin coastal village. The Tidy Towns' volunteers are already out in force, painting and sweeping, weeding and planting.
Over the weekend, the dinghies were sailing in the harbour, Oppies twirling in the wind as their junior captains strived to keep them from capsizing. The thwack of willow on leather was heard at the grounds of The Hills Cricket Club, current holders of the Irish Senior Cup, and local residents probably spent an amount of time congratulating themselves and each other on their good fortune to live in such a place, at such a time. Skerries has a timeless feel that is quite different to other Dublin seaside villages.
Milverton is the name used to describe both an area on the outskirts of Skerries and the property currently on the market. It is located on the Dublin side of the village, and feels distinctly rural, yet in the middle of the day the drive back to the city centre takes less than half an hour via the Port Tunnel. The airport is just 20 minutes' drive.
The current owners like the location so much that they are up-sizing to a larger property nearby, hence the sale of Milverton.
They bought the property a decade ago, adding a curved extension and refurbishing the original house in 2007. Although they almost doubled its size to just under 4200 sq ft, the house works well as a cohesive unit - there is no sense of the old part versus the new part - and the construction appears solid and the finishes of high quality.
This is a house that is, in the phrase beloved of both estate agents and time-poor house-hunters, in walk-in condition.
At ground floor level, the double-height reception hall has exposed brick walls and a feature curved staircase leading to the bedrooms on the first floor.
To the right of the hall is the family room, with double doors to the rear garden. To the left is a study. Straight ahead lies the dining area, overlooking the south-facing garden that, by arrangement with the adjoining owners, who are market gardeners, is unfenced. The vendors say that this gives them all the benefits of a large garden, with little of the responsibility. There are various sitting areas positioned around the back of the house to make the most of the sunshine and bucolic views for eating and sitting outside whenever the weather permits.
New owners could, of course, choose to fence the property if they wish.
The open-plan kitchen, custom-built by House of Coolemore in Cork, is made of solid oak and includes built-in Neff appliances and a granite-topped island. The floor is travertine. Curved marble steps lead to a large sunken sitting room with a fireplace and wood-burning stove and plenty of room for a grand piano. The owners are music lovers and there is an integrated sound system throughout; there are even speakers outside on the patio. A utility room and guest lavatory are also located on this level, and several of the rooms have under-floor heating.
A second staircase from this end of the house also leads to the bedroom floor where there are five double bedrooms, of which four are en suite and two have dressing rooms. There is also a family bathroom. The bathrooms are all finished to a high standard.
Outside, a double height garage is currently used as a music room and art studio, but could - subject to planning permission - be used as a granny flat. Milverton sits on 0.4 acre of garden, and an additional plot of 0.7 acres of adjacent land may also be available by separate negotiation.
Skerries has several national schools, including an Educate Together, and a community secondary school.
The aforementioned station is a brisk 15 minutes' walk from the house, the trains are frequent at peak times, and the line links to the DART in Malahide. And if you're travelling by road Skerries village is a five-minute drive from the house and has shops, restaurants and the beaches that made Skerries famous as a resort.
The restored Skerries Mills and Ardgillan Castle, with its terrific playground and beautiful rose garden, are amongst the local recreational amenities.