Monday 22 October 2018

You could live in the mews and rent this inner-city main house for a tidy sum

Pearse Square's fortunes have lifted for the second time since 1838

Facade of No 3 Pearse Square
Facade of No 3 Pearse Square
Fireplace
The hallway
The front door of No 3
Kitchen dining area
Family room with patio doors leading out to the back garden
Family room with patio doors leading out to the back garden
The drawing room leads through to a study/dining room
The elegant 'Harmony' sculpture in the Square
Mark Keenan

Mark Keenan

The 48 houses at Pearse Square and their accompanying landscaped public park tell a story of inner city revival twice over. They were once a luxury scheme of homes launched in 1838 at the dawning of a new industrial and technological era, with then cutting-edge selling points like piped water and sewerage.

But not so long beforehand, in the mid to late 18th Century, this was the last place you'd want to live. The ground was a fetid tidal swamp, flooded regularly by the Liffey which then washed all the way up to Townsend Street and College Green.

The hallway
The hallway

The nearest building of note was the Lazars Hill leper colony and the only other landmarks in proximity were the gibbets of Misery Hill (now beside Facebook's European HQ) where the rotting remains of hanged criminals and pirates hung around for six months before being taken down.

But at the end of the century the land was reclaimed and developers began to eye it up. In 1838 Pearse Square was commenced and christened "Queen's Square" after the newly coronated Queen Victoria who was crowned just the previous year. The houses were arrayed around a private park of an acre and a quarter for the benefit of residents only. This was designed to include a series of walks that led to a central sunken feature.

Kitchen dining area
Kitchen dining area

The square immediately became a trendy haven for academics and actors who worked at the nearby theatres, including the famous Royal. The Square had high-brow boarding accommodation for travelling actors from abroad performing in Dublin on tours. In the 1860s its residents included no less than three professors of music along with a police inspector, a pawnbroker and a brass founder.

In 1926, the ten-year anniversary of the 1916 Rising, it was renamed because of the Pearse family home and stone carving business nearby. But as the area increasingly became home to poor, low-paid docker families, the locale slid out of favour once again. By the 1880s the Corporation had bought the park and in the 1940s much of it was tarmacked over. By the 1980s the area had become run down.

Then in the late 1990s, in the early boom years, the Corporation restored the neglected public park based on the original 1838 plan. At its centre is the elegant sculpture "Harmony" by Sandra Bell, a willowy figure playing a coronet (the original bandstand was here).

The houses were bought up again for refurbishment. No 3 was acquired and a full structural restoration was carried out. The current owners bought it in 2002 and further embellished it.

Today the area is the focus of Dublin's commerce once again and the Square finds itself on the doorstep of the Silicon Docks - with landmarks like the Bord Gais Theatre and the revamped Canal Basin within reach. This is where the European Headquarters of Google, Facebook, Airbnb and Linkedin are located.

No 3 has now come up for sale with a price of €895,000 attached. The two-storey-over-basement measures 1,862 sq ft, almost twice the size of an average semi-detached family home. Many of the original features laid down 180 years ago are happily still intact including the chimney pieces, much of the elaborate joinery, the floors and the cornicings.

Family room with patio doors leading out to the back garden
Family room with patio doors leading out to the back garden

A flight of granite steps leads up to the front door. At hall level, there is a wide reception hall leading to two bright interconnecting reception rooms; the drawing room to the front has views over the landscaped square and its sculpture centrepiece while the study/dining room to the rear is looking into the garden.

The agents point out that in many of the neighbouring houses one of these reception rooms has been converted into a very large fourth bedroom.

Family room with patio doors leading out to the back garden
Family room with patio doors leading out to the back garden

On the hall return you find the family bathroom which is furnished with Fired Earth fittings. The living accommodation is continued at garden level, where the French style kitchen is connected via double doors to the family room. This in turn has double-glazed doors which lead out onto the garden patio.

Off the kitchen there is a utility room with separate access to the front of the house. The first floor holds the three bedrooms and a newly refurbished shower room.

Although it is in turnkey condition, No 3 offers even further prospects for improvement and perhaps even a healthy rental income stream from the international businesses and their thousands of staff which are based in the area.

The west-facing rear garden is laid out in patio terraces and is unusually large for a city centre property, extending to 68ft.

The drawing room leads through to a study/dining room
The drawing room leads through to a study/dining room

The previous owners had obtained full planning permission for a two-bedroom mews house at the rear, fronting onto Byrnes Lane. This has since lapsed but the current owners have recently reapplied for planning permission and are currently awaiting a decision.

A property like this could rent in the order of €36,000 per annum in the current market. Another option would be to live in the mews and rent the main house which should command even more.

Pearse Square is next to the South Docks and within walking distance of Grafton Street, the IFSC, Trinity College and DART and Green Luas lines. These days the only privateers hanging around are on the lookout for property investments near the Silicon Docks.

3 Pearse Square

Pearse Street, Dublin 2

Asking price: €895,000

Agent: Lisney (01)6624511

Indo Property

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