Gandon’s last stand: luxury in Lucan for €1.175m
James Gandon, who put his mark on the capital with his work on the Four Courts and the Custom House, purchased Canonbrook and enjoyed its sense of relaxed luxury until his death in 1823
The renowned architect James Gandon, who designed historic Irish landmarks such as the Four Courts and the Custom House, bought and lived in Canonbrook until his death in 1823. Gandon chose Lucan for the local spa water in an attempt to treat his severe gout. Local lore has it that he was lifted by a troop of local guards on a stretcher to the village during the visit of George IV, with the expectation of a knighthood, but was overlooked by the royal entourage. Today, the house, which dates from the late 1780s, is for sale with an asking price of €1.175 million through estate agent Sherry Fitzgerald.
Canonbrook is accessed by a long, winding driveway covered by a canopy of mature deciduous trees and a blanket of pink and white cyclamen. The entrance is shared by current owners of the small gate lodge. Though large at 408sq m, it feels warm and exudes character rather than grandeur.
The main entrance hall, accessed through a small porch is modest and leads to a good-sized dining room with maple flooring and original sash windows, one of which is Gothic in style. A large well-lit drawing room on the same floor overlooks the mature south-facing garden. The original ceiling coving and picture rails are still in place. A horseshoe cast-iron fireplace sits above original pine flooring, and the 1.5ft-thick splayed window allows light flood into this comfortable room. A bathroom and large cloakroom complete this floor.
Downstairs is the family living area with a large cherry shaker-style kitchen, Chinese slate floor and central island with granite worktops. This leads to the dining area which has full-height Rationel windows and double French doors opening on to a sun deck with raised beds full of alpines, japonica and acer palmatum.
Adjacent to the kitchen lies a large utility, which would have been the original scullery. It has old flagstone flooring and doors to the stables outside. Off this room lies a panelled staircase, which in its heyday was the servant’s access to the six bedrooms and two bathrooms upstairs. The master bedroom is large and well lit thanks to its dual-aspect windows and has a separate dressing room. There are two interconnecting bedrooms on this floor that would have been a nursery and playroom in days gone by. Another bedroom has access to an Aladdin’s Cave via a further panelled staircase, and is currently used for storage. It would make a fantastic en-suite with the original exposed brickwork, wooden eaves and skylight. The basement of the house which opens onto the gardens has a further family room and small study.
The mature two-acre gardens are the legacy of Gandon himself and have wonderful pathways through oak, mountain ash and beech trees. A whitewashed potting shed has wiring for vines and lies near an old disused well. This deceptively large property is just 30 minutes from Dublin, and while the rooms are not particularly grand in dimension, there is a sense of relaxed luxury about the house. The many staircases lend a feel of Upstairs, Downstairs to this lovely family home.