Taking the plunge in Sandycove for €1.95m
Unique selling point: Harbour-front home
With a private pier and steps into the water, this seafront home has much to offer.
You can jump from your garden straight into the sea at Neptune Lodge. House-hunters in the market for a home on the coast in South County Dublin are unlikely to find anything quite as close to the water as this two-storey home located slap-bang on the seafront at Sandycove Harbour and with its own small pier and swimming ladder leading down into the water.
The house will be familiar to anyone who has ever spent an afternoon on the adjacent small beach, where it sometimes seems as if all the toddlers and au pairs in South County Dublin converge in the summer months. In fact, this property made an appearance on the market in April last year but failed to sell. But as we enter 2016 the price has taken a big plunge, shedding a cool half a million from the €2.5m originally sought.
Parking can get tricky around here when the sun shines, but the owners of Neptune Lodge have two parking spaces of their own on the property, with room for another car in the garage if required. In the chilly winter months the beach is usually deserted, except for the odd dog-walker.
The hardy swimmers of the area are still taking the plunge around the corner at the Forty Foot, though. The toughest continue with the daily dip year round, and say that the swimming is much more pleasant since the ending of the ferry service from Dun Laoghaire and the disappearance of the monstrous waves caused by the boats. Those who prefer to swim without togs venture around from the Forty Foot towards Neptune Lodge, so prospective purchasers of a nervous disposition who might be shocked by the flash of a naked backside (or worse) should probably strike the house from their list, less their sensibilities be affronted too regularly for comfort.
Even when the beach at Sandycove is busy in summer, Neptune Lodge is secluded and faces out towards the sea and away from the crowds. Its garden is quite private, gets the sun all day long, and has uninterrupted views across Scotsman's Bay towards Dun Laoghaire and the landmark granite East Pier. The old Victorian baths along the seafront are due to be refurbished soon, and there are also plans for an 'urban beach' alongside Carlisle Pier. The cormorants and other sea birds that congregate on the rocks of Scotsman's Bay could keep an ornithologist happy for hours, and there are still local lobster boats that frequent these waters, checking their pots to see whether they have had any luck.
The latest addition to the vista is Lexicon, Dun Laoghaire's magnificent new library, designed by Cork-based architects, Carr Cotter Naessens. Controversial during the building process, locals are now warming to its assertive presence, like the bow of a ship looming above the water.
Neptune Lodge was last on the market 45 years ago, and although there has been refurbishment work since, new owners are likely to undertake a top to bottom renovation, and perhaps extend the property. As currently configured, the house has 2,900 sq ft of living space spread over two floors.
On the ground floor the sitting room, dining room, hall and family room are at the back. All have bay windows and views out over the water, while the kitchen and the fourth bedroom are at the front of the house and without views. There are also utility and shower rooms on this level. Upstairs, there are three bedrooms, with the master and the second bedroom both enjoying spectacular views. All three bedrooms share a bathroom.
The Martello Tower at Sandycove, just beyond the Forty Foot, is the scene of the opening chapter in James Joyce's Ulysses. Joyce himself lived in the tower at one stage and his character, Stephen Dedalus, shares accommodation there with stately medical student, Buck Mulligan. The tower now houses the James Joyce Museum and attracts visitors year round (hence the regular clusters of bemused looking tourists emerging from the DART station) but particularly on June 16 when the whole area gets involved in the Bloomsday celebrations, with the shopkeepers of Glasthule village dressing up in costume and Cavistons hosting a well-attended street party.
Glasthule is a proper village, with two butchers, a green grocers, a health food shop and two wine shops, not to mention the institution that is Cavistons, to cater for the gourmands of the area. There's also a convenience store, an undertaker, a couple of hairdressers, a beauty salon and some smart boutiques.
Restaurants in the village include the Cookbook Café, Rasam and Carluccio's, with good fish and seafood available at both Cavistons and the Fish Shack on the seafront. No wonder that prices in the area are always strong, and that properties are in demand both by young families and by downsizing empty-nesters.
The Harold National School is a short walk from Neptune Lodge, as is Castle Park, popular with ex-pats and the socially ambitious. With a location this close to the water, any child living at Neptune Lodge will have no problem attracting friends home for play dates.
Proximity to the DART puts a wide range of popular secondary schools, including Holy Child Killiney, Loreto Dalkey, Blackrock College and St. Andrews within easy reach. And the four Dun Laoghaire sailing clubs are an attraction for the nautically inclined, with the prospect of being able to make the short trip over under sail sure to be seductive.
Sandycove Harbour, Sandycove, Co Dublin
Asking price: €1.95m
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald (01) 2751000