Opposite the front door of 19 Harmony Avenue is an abundant patch of wild garlic, known in the US as ramps. The plants look like white bluebells and the young leaves, if they have escaped the attention of the local canine population (which seems likely in this instance because they are growing on a raised hump) make a delicious pesto that will confirm the artisan credentials of anyone who serves it. The unopened flowers, meanwhile, can be pickled like capers. So, foraging in Dublin 4 - who would have thought it?
Harmony Avenue is tucked away off Brookvale Road at the Donnybrook end of Eglinton Road, and is a street that you would never know existed. There's an attractive terrace of small and well-maintained redbrick houses running down one side, with a few more modern houses at the end of the cul-de-sac. There is on-street parking for which residents are entitled to purchase an annual permit.
The current owner, a solicitor, agreed to buy No 19 in 2005, but the vendor died before the transaction was completed and the sale did not close until 2007. The house was in poor condition, with an uninsulated blockwork kitchen extension and an outside lavatory, so the owner employed architect Ryan Kennihan to work on plans to adapt the property for modern living.
The extension was demolished, along with the outside loo, and the original cottage was almost doubled in size, so that it now has 827 sq ft of living space. There's no front garden to speak of - just a pocket handkerchief-sized area of planting behind the iron railing - and the front door opens directly into the kitchen, which is bright and spacious with room for a decent-sized table.
The handle-less kitchen units are from Ikea, and it's an indication of how much things have changed in Ireland over the past decade that the owner remembers heading over to Glasgow with her brother to purchase it, in the days before we had our very own branch. Its neutral cream palette and simple wooden worktops have stood the test of time well and the space is much larger than you would expect to find in a house of this size, with plenty of room to potter away. Included in the sale are the integrated appliances, including a Neff four-ring gas burner and fridge-freezer, Electrolux oven and Bosch extractor. There's plumbing for a washing machine, recessed light on a dimmer switch, a solid maple floor and a tiled splash-back.
The living room is located to the rear of the house and has sliding patio doors that open out on to a south-facing balcony. There's a decent amount of under-stairs storage, and the balcony itself looks out on to the car park of the Scouts' Hall and the backs of another terrace of houses beyond. There is underfloor heating throughout the ground floor.
The generously-proportioned staircase is lit from above by a skylight that floods the house with light and is a real feature of the house, making it feel bigger than it is. The owner says that it is her favourite part of the house, and that she loves how bright it makes the space.
Upstairs there are two double bedrooms, the larger one to the rear with a wall of fitted wardrobes and patio doors to a small Juliet-style balcony. The two bedrooms share a bathroom with a chrome shower over the bath. The owner says that she has consulted an architect in relation to the possibility of applying for planning permission for a roof terrace, which would be accessed by continuing the staircase on up, and that the architect believes that it might be possible to achieve this.
In terms of location, Harmony Avenue is convenient for Dublin city centre, within minutes of good bus routes and also half an hour from Dublin airport, via the Port Tunnel. The Aviva Stadium, Riverview Fitness Club and Donnybrook Tennis Club are all within easy reach, as are St Vincent's Hospital and the RDS.
Donnybrook is a proper village with a terrific selection of shops, pubs and restaurants. It is home to Havana boutique, which always has an eye-catching window display, and several smart interiors shops. Donnybrook Fair and Tesco Metro are on hand, and there is also a butcher and a fishmonger, a couple of wine shops and Roy Fox's greengrocers, plus pharmacies and a good bookshop. Kiely's is a perennial match-day favourite, while O'Connell's, The Greenery, Mulberry Garden, Forno and Marco Pierre White do a fine job of keeping the locals well-fed.
Currently, 19 Harmony Avenue is rented out at €1,800 per month, but is being offered for sale with vacant possession.
19 Harmony Avenue
Donnybrook, Dublin 4
Asking price: €490,000
Agent: Finnegan Menton (01) 6147900