A country-style retreat – but in town – for €1.5m

The former Rathgar home of Irish Times editor Douglas Gageby has a rambling, rural feel

Thu, Apr 17, 2014, 01:00

House names can be misleading but Riversdale House off Bushy Park Road in Rathgar, Dublin 6 gets it right. The Victorian house, perched high over the River Dodder, is set on 1.6 acres, including a swathe of woodland with its own private trail running down to the river, and as the house itself has a rambling country feel, it’s an unexpected find in suburban Dublin 6. Colliers is putting the house to auction on May 21st with an AMV of 1.5 million.
Riversdale was once the home of Douglas Gageby, for many years the editor The Irish Times. Then the property, accessed via a pair of stately white-painted wrought-iron gates at the end of Riversdale Avenue, was made up of the grand old house and a cut stone barn. In the 1960s, he built a second house attached to the original (and in the same style) for an elderly family member. Then, for his own retirement, he converted the stone barn into a two-bedroom house. And so the Riversdale property is now in effect three houses sharing the same access with the original Riversdale House, which last changed hands in the 1980s when it was bought by Alex Findlater, the one now coming up for auction. Its attached house, the 1960s build, may come up in the future and the barn, which had been for sale since 2005 was only recently withdrawn from the market. 
 
Riversdale House is like a country house in town and it is decorated and laid out that way. There’s a vast and bright country kitchen with an Aga and granite-topped pine units; two reception rooms, a study and an old-fashioned conservatory where an established –  and grape producing – vine lives. 
 
Upstairs, there are four bedrooms and a bathroom. Original Victorian features include decorative cornicework on both levels, marble fireplaces, sash windows and shutters, stained glass windows and solid oak herringbone wooden flooring in the inner and outer hall. Between these features and the way it is decorated at present, with beautiful decorative wallpapers and heavy silk drapes, it makes for a very atmospheric home.
As well as the woodland riverbank there are two more garden areas, one on either side of the house – a lawned garden beside the driveway and a large, mature garden outside the kitchen. With its raised beds for vegetables at the far end, as well as its border shrubs, trees, flowers and lawn, it’s clearly been the work of a committed gardener. 
 
Riversdale House last came on the market in 2006. Even though it is a protected structure, the fact that it is in on 1.6 acres of Dublin 6 piqued the interest of developers but it didn’t sell. Now the likely buyers will be a family looking for a period house with character and an unusual and very private garden. 
 
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