Swimming on the spot in Dublin’s Raheny
With a pool inside and the sea outside, Ardfield makes a splash
Ardfield, 647A Howth Road, Blackbanks, Raheny, Dublin 5
Asking price: €1.495m Agent: Sherry Fitzgerald (01) 839 4022
Ardfield on the Howth Road in Dublin’s Raheny makes a big splash on two fronts. The four-bedroom, detached house with a front room view over Dublin Bay, is a stone’s throw from the sea with only the road outside separating it from the water.
And indoors it has its own 20-foot swimming pool with a swim-on-the-spot training function and a wave maker. For relaxing afterwards, the house has its own sauna.
The house, which has an unusual partial-glass slanted roof that lets in the light, was built by a German couple in 2000, one of whom was a physiotherapist and used the pool and sauna for clients as part of her practice.
It proved to be a big advantage to Barry and Gaye O’Donovan when they bought Ardfield in 2014. The couple have three children (now grown up) who made plenty of use of the pool when they lived there.
They also have seven grandchildren who have also benefitted from the swimming pool in recent years. “The kids got a lot of fun out of it and the grandkids especially liked it when they were younger,” says O’Donovan, who is now retired, but previously owned a water-treatment business.
An avid sailor, he’s also member of Howth Sailing and Boating Club. Last June, he completed a round-Ireland trip. This year, he’s doing the Dublin to Dingle race. So, the fact that the house was on the seafront also appealed to him.
“From the garden wall, you can throw a stone over into the water,” he explains.
While you can access the sea directly just 100 yards down the road from the house, the water is quite deep at that point. The nearest beach is on Bull Island which is a five-minute drive away.
With Dublin Bay right on its doorstop, the view is spectacular.
“To the left, you can see Howth and the Kish Lighthouse, and to the right you get a clear view of the Poolbeg chimneys in Ringsend,” says O’Donovan. “At night when the lights come on and glitter across the bay, the view is just beautiful.”
A hedge in the front garden hides the passing traffic on the street below the house and means the view is uninterrupted.
“The only thing we ever see is the top of an odd bus,” says O’Donovan. “You could be in the west of Ireland with this view.” It’s also surprisingly quiet as the windows throughout the house are double-glazed.
Another unusual feature in the house is a built-in 3D cinema, which is in a 4x4 ft room, previously used for storage, and located over the triple garage roof and under one of the bedroom floors.
“You can’t stand up in it so we made a 3D cinema out of it. Watching a 3D movie in such a confined space is a dramatic experience,” says O’Donovan. “We call it the ‘hobbit room’ because it’s so small.”
Structurally the house was in good condition when they bought it but it needed insulation.
“We found it cold when we first moved in,” says O’Donovan. “We insulated the walls and carpeted many of the rooms, including the upstairs bedrooms. In the hall and the living room, we installed wooden flooring.”
The back of the house which has a landscaped garden, faces south. The front gets the sun in the evening and benefits from that sloping glass roof. “The sun belts in here most of the time now, which keeps the house lovely and warm, even without the heating on,” says O’Donovan.
In the kitchen, they changed the layout considerably, removing a wall with a door leading into a stepped-down living room. The kitchen units were updated and extra presses added. There was originally a curved countertop, but this was replaced with an island. A boiling water tap, and a water-softener were also installed. There’s a utility room downstairs and an office.
When it came to the interior, they hired a designer who suggested continuity of the colour scheme throughout the rooms to give a sense of space. “There’s a lot of light grey, white and cream in the design. It hasn’t aged and it’s very easy to live with,” says O’Donovan.
All of the walls were wall-papered with Farrow and Ball paper, and panelling was added to the stairs and the landing walls. In addition, coving was added to the ceiling in most of the rooms.
At first, they played around with the orientation of the house.
Originally, the dining room was upstairs and accessed by a spiral staircase from the living area at the front. But they moved it to the ground floor, off the kitchen, as it proved to be too sunny.
“You’d have to eat a meal with your sunglasses on,” laughs O’Donovan. “It was just too bright, especially in the winter as the sun sits lower in the sky.”
There’s a gas fire in the dining room and an oval table and chairs.
Upstairs at the front of the house also has a fireplace and this is where the couple watch TV. Given that their children have long ago flown the nest, the couple are now planning to downsize to a smaller house in Malahide.
“We like the idea of living in a village with amenities close by. It’s also convenient for my sailing,” says O’Donovan. “We’ll miss the house, but it’s time to move on, so we just have to bury the emotions and get on with it,” he adds. “It will make a lovely home for another family and especially for people who love the sea like we do.”
Sherry FitzGerald seeks €1.495m on their behalf.