New home view: Honouring Georgian inspiration
Semple Woods Donabate, Co Dublin
Asking price: €370,000-€580,000
Agent: Knight Frank New Homes (01) 634 2466 or Dillon Marshall New Homes (01) 496 7574
During the first 75 years of the 18th century, Church of Ireland archbishops enjoyed some of the highest landed incomes in the country. Charles Cobbe, who arrived in Ireland from England in 1717 as chaplain to his cousin, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, had begun buying land on the Donabate peninsula in 1736.
After becoming Archbishop of Dublin in 1743, he commissioned celebrated Scottish architect James Gibbs to design Newbridge House, Gibbs' only known work in Ireland. Most of the mansion was built between 1747 and 1752. But when Thomas Cobbe, the archbishop's son and heir, married Lady Elizabeth Beresford, youngest daughter of the first Earl of Tyrone, in 1755, more space was required at Newbridge for both the young couple and the art collection being assembled for the family by Matthew Pilkington.
This time round, the architect was Donabate man George Semple, who had already overseen construction of Newbridge House. Semple designed a large drawing room with a picture gallery to the back of the mansion.
The Newbridge estate served as the ancestral home of the Cobbe family until 1985, when the family gave the villa and sold the demesne to Fingal County Council. Under a rare agreement, the Cobbe family was allowed remain in residence at Newbridge while historic family-owned paintings, furniture and documents were kept in situ.
In 1986, Newbridge Demesne was opened as a public park and the house, which contains most of its original furniture, was also opened to the public. Today, the 370 acre park is also home to a pet farm, a visitor centre, a café, and playing pitches.
Just a two-minute drive from one of the finest surviving examples of Georgian architecture is Semple Woods, a development named in honour of the local architect and builder.
The scheme, which is launching this weekend, is located off Hearse Road, on the southern edge of Donabate town centre, where it's less than a 10-minute walk from Donabate train station.
Glenveagh Properties plans to build about 250 three, four and five-bed homes at the Semple Woods site, but last month agreed to forward-sell 40 of those homes to the Real Estate Investment Trust (I-RES), the country's largest private landlord.
The first release at Semple Woods will consist of about 20 properties. Prices start at €370,000 for a three-bed mid-terraced home, at €450,000 for a four-bed semi-detached house, and at €580,000 for a double-fronted, five-bed detached property. The latter style is laid out over two floors, rather than the three storeys that have dominated new homes in the greater Dublin landscape of late.
The houses have brick and render to the exteriors, with some house types finished with a full-brick façade, and there are UPVC double-glazed windows throughout.
There is enough parking for two cars in the paved driveway, which is to one side rather than the front at some of the house styles. French doors open from the rear of each home to a seeded garden enclosed by post-and-panel fencing.
The kitchen, supplied by CBK Design, comes with soft-close doors and an upstand, while the master bedroom and second bedroom are each fitted with shaker-style wardrobes.
Sanitaryware is fitted to the contemporary-style bathroom, ensuite and guest WC, and there is tiling to the floors and wet areas. A Samsung heat pump provides heating and hot water to the A-rated properties.
Semple Woods is a five-minute drive from the M1 motorway, while the train journey to Dublin City centre - a 20km distance away - takes between 20 and 28 minutes.
The showhouse will be open for viewings from 11am to 1pm tomorrow and Sunday.