Victorian with a modern twist in Dalkey
A renovated villa-style period home in Dalkey
IN the 14th century, the mouth of the River Liffey became heavily silted up, making the passage of ships dangerous. Dalkey was a convenient alternative and, for a time, was the main port of Dublin.
Ships would anchor in Dalkey Sound and offload their goods there for the capital. There was no harbour as such - Coliemore Harbour was not constructed until well into the second half of the 19th century - but the village prospered on the back of all this activity and trade.
Dalkey has remained prosperous to this day and is regarded as one of Dublin's loveliest villages. Coolbawn is located right at the heart of the action, a dangerously short walk from Finnegan's Pub (visited by Obama on his trip to Ireland in 2011) and the village's other amenities.
This central location makes it a property that will appeal to several different categories of buyer, from affluent singles and couples to young families and, perhaps most of all, to empty-nesters seeking to downsize from larger houses in the area and who baulk at the prospect of moving into a soulless apartment development.
Coolbawn is a single-fronted, two-storey villa with almost 2,000 sq ft of living space. Comprehensively restored and renovated in recent years, the house is in tip-top condition and a fine example of why it is worth hiring a good architect when embarking on such a project. In this case, the architect was John Bennett of Bennett McCleary, and the design of the interior was well and thoroughly thought through. It feels modern, practical and comfortable, as well as stylish.
Coolbawn is also an example of how a period home - in this case a Victorian 'villa style' seaside abode with a lower floor and entrance level - can be reworked for modern living without tearing out its character.
One of the first things prospective buyers will notice is the off-street parking for two cars, a valuable facility in a village where on-street parking is often at a premium. A smart flight of steps leads up to the front door although, as the living space is located on the lower level, it is probably the door down a few steps from the gravelled parking area that is used most often.
On the upper level there are three double bedrooms, with the master ensuite. There is also a family bathroom. Two of the bedrooms have fitted Sliderobes. New owners, depending on their requirements, may use the smallest of the bedrooms as a home office.
A staircase with a glass balustrade leads down to the open-plan living space on the lower level - there are oak floors and under-floor heating throughout.
To the front is the sitting area, with a gas fire-box and a high-tech wireless sound system that operates throughout the house. A utility room and guest lavatory are cleverly tucked away under the stairs.
An inner courtyard glazed on three sides and located between the living room and kitchen/dining room to the rear brings light into the space.
The bespoke kitchen is streamlined and fitted with high-gloss white units, and one of those brilliant Quooker boiling water taps. A large American fridge-freezer, Neff cooker and microwave and gas hob are all included in the sale. The dining table seats 10 comfortably, and there is also seating at the island.
At the back of the house, concertina doors open out on to the back garden, which stretches back 30m and faces west. There's a limestone patio area and the garden has been landscaped attractively - if the new owners are retirees, they will probably spend plenty of time out here, reflecting on what a clever move they've made.
A young family will want to know that Dalkey is home to several national schools, and that there are others, including Dalkey School Project NS - the first Educate Together School, still going strong over 30 years later but, confusingly, located in Glenageary - within easy reach.
Loreto Dalkey is the nearest secondary school for girls, with Holy Child Killiney just over the hill.
Proximity to the DART means that access to other South Dublin secondary schools, including Blackrock College, St Andrews and St Michael's, is convenient.
The Cuala GAA club has a very active junior section, as does local soccer team, Dalkey United, while Dalkey Quarry is said to be the cradle of Irish rock-climbing, with over 350 recognised climbs ranging from the 'difficult' to the 'extreme'. For the less adventurous, the area offers plenty in the way of walks and views, whether from the top of Killiney Hill, where dogs are allowed to run free, the beach at Killiney or along the Metals into Dun Laoghaire.
Dalkey has an abundance of cafes, restaurants and pubs, as well as a good selection of shops and a decent-sized SuperValu supermarket.
Oliver McCabe's Select Stores is where all the beautiful people go to stock up on organic fruit and veggies, juices and coffees, and other essentials including matcha, bee pollen and almond butter, and to meet up for a healthy lunch.
Railway Road, Dalkey, Co Dublin
Asking price: €1.35m
Agent: Vincent Finnegan, (01) 2984695