Spacious period abode is ideal for a large family
There's room to grow in the 19th century Drayton Lodge
Back in 1971 it was calculated that 15,000 Irish families had six or more children. Today that number has reduced five times to just 3,000.
Irish families aren't as large as they used to be and this has been reflected in the limited number of suitable homes for big broods. Three to four bedrooms is the norm, five bedrooms is unusual but six is very rare indeed.
So for anyone who has already exceeded the national average number of offspring (1.4 per family in urban areas, and 1.5 per family in rural areas, according to the 2011 Census) and is planning to continue adding to the size of their brood, then the six-bedroom, four-bathroom Drayton Lodge is a house that might be worth a look.
Located just off the Monkstown Road, behind electric gates and a stone's throw from the village, with bags of off-street parking, Drayton Lodge has 4,460 sq ft of living space, spread across three floors.
It's a semi-detached house built in the early 1800s that looks from the front as if it is detached, as it is joined to its neighbour at the back rather than to the side. This means that its garden is small (a tranche was sold off for development at some point), but for those who have neither green fingers nor the desire to spend their summer weekends mowing expansive lawns, there is enough room to eat outdoors on the deck or patio and enjoy the sun when the weather obliges.
Inside the house is in good condition, having been the subject of a major refurbishment by the current owners when they purchased it in 1986.
Granite steps lead up to the front door, with a beautiful fanlight and side panels, opening onto an elegant hall. At ground floor level there are three fine reception rooms - a drawing room, dining room and family room - and a kitchen / breakfast room extension with a balcony leading down to the garden.
Drayton Lodge retains many period features - there are sash windows, working shutters, original cornicing and centre roses, and some good-looking fireplaces too. The kitchen is kitted out with a big dual-fuel Rangemaster.
The basement of Drayton Lodge is arranged as a separate apartment, with its own entrance, and was formerly a rental property that has been incorporated back into the main house. It has two bedrooms and its own bathroom, kitchen and living room. Adult children can be slow to leave home - or else leave in a flurry of excitement only to return when the reality of paying the rent while trying to save for a deposit on a place of their own becomes too much - and this apartment could be attractive as an independent living situation either for older children or elderly relatives.
Large families are fashionable these days - just look at the Jolie-Pitts if you need confirmation - and the ability to maintain and fund a family of three, four or even five children is a modern status symbol.
And right now there are few locations in the capital more fashionable than the village of Monkstown, on the stretch of coastline in SoCoDu known as the Golden Mile. It's a proper village for starters, with a smart fishmonger (George's), a multi-award-winning butcher (James Whelan), a chemist, two florists, a wine merchant, a dry-cleaners, a post-office, a newsagent and a mechanic (specialising - of course - in Range Rovers).
There's a swanky boutique, Seagreen, selling a better class of gym gear, Woolrich parkas, and Bella Freud jumpers, and an interior shop, The Blue Door, with all manner of covetable throws, cushions and objects for the home.
Then there's Johnny Cooke's delicatessen and, of course, Avoca, the arrival of which on The Crescent was a source of enormous jubilation in the neighbourhood until the parking implications hit home. Still, the locals have taken this outpost of Avoca to their hearts, with many using it like a local supermarket and wishing that it operated a loyalty card scheme.
As well as a wide selection of retail outlets, Monkstown is also home to cafés including Cinnamon and Café du Journal, restaurants such as That's Amore, Seapoint Bar & Grill and Salt at Avoca, and pubs, including Goggins, a match day favourite.
Large families will be attracted by the convenience of Drayton Lodge to a number of good schools, both fee-paying and otherwise. CBC Monkstown is within walking distance, while proximity to the DART (Salthill / Monkstown is a five-minute walk) puts Holy Child Killiney, Loreto Dalkey, Blackrock College and St. Andrews within easy reach.
Monkstown Tennis Club and the four sailing clubs in Dun Laoghaire are all close by to provide for plenty of wholesome outdoor activity, and the IMC multiplex and excellent public transport are great amenities for teenagers as they start to become independent.
If a young family bought Drayton Lodge now, one could imagine it making a very happy home for the next 25 years or more.
Monkstown Rd, Monkstown, Co. Dublin
Asking price: €1.795m
Agent: Sherry Fitzgerald (01) 2880088