Athletics club pays €1.25m for estate
Georgian house on about 15 acres in Rathfarnham now likely to be developed as a sports facility and clubhouse
St Thomas, Whitechurch, Dublin 16
Dundrum South Dublin Athletic Club (DSDAC) has purchased St Thomas, a Georgian residence on about 15 acres in Rathfarnham, Co Dublin, for €1.25 million. It was bought last week after the property went for auction through Ganly Walters with a guide price of €1.15 million.
The property on Tibradden Road, which was the home of former Irish Times chairman and chief executive Major Tom McDowell, is now likely to be developed as a sports facility and clubhouse.
The funding for the purchase came out of €2.5 million savings DSDAC has amassed over 30 years, most of it generated by the annual Women’s Mini-Marathon which the club owns and operates.
Major McDowell lived at St Thomas right up to his death in 2009, and it had remained in the hands of the family since. It came on the market in 2010 asking €3.5 million, but the house requires extensive refurbishment and the lands were never deemed suitable for commercial development.
According to Gerry McGrath, a coach with DSDAC: “For us it’s ideal. There’s a gorgeous flat eight-acre meadow at the back. It’s also just 450m from Marlay Park which we will continue to use, making it a very safe distance to move younger members around.”
Until now DSDAC has had no clubhouse, but relied instead on the facilities of Crusaders’ running track at Ringsend Stadium, Ballinteer Community School sports hall and Marlay Park where it has the use of a breeze-block building.
Mr McGrath said there would be no plans to include bar facilities in the new clubhouse at St Thomas as it wouldn’t be in keeping with the club ethos.
The refurbishment costs will be drawn from the club’s funds, and the grounds which back on to Marlay Park are to be developed as athletics facilities to include high jump, long jump and throwing circle. The barn has potential as a gym.