Artist’s retreat in Blackrock for €1,295,000

Six-bedroom family home that’s two houses rolled into one and has an artist’s studio


At the top of a laneway, just off Greenville Road in Blackrock, Knocknagow House is half hidden, and even once inside, it only reveals itself little by little.

Set over three levels, and at 372sq m (4,000sq ft), the six-bedroom house is the home of restaurateur-turned-artist Alexis FitzGerald and his wife Helen Collins. Alexis once owned The Abbot of Monkstown restaurant and he now paints landscape and still lifes, from a studio in the house.

The couple brought up three children at Knocknagow, and are moving to downsize now that the family has grown up.

“It’s been the most fabulous house for family life,” Helen says, guiding me through the different twists and turns to discover a large, bright and sunny playroom, once a garage, on the lower level; and a second large playroom/study space (currently Alexis’s studio) upstairs.

The bedrooms are ranged across the ground floor and first floor. One is a relatively self-contained space with an en suite, that would suit an au pair or an independent young adult. “All our children moved into this bedroom, before they moved out,” Helen says.

The master bedroom, which is en suite, has a nice bay window looking out over the front garden; and there are five bathroom/cloakrooms in all.

The rambling layout of the house is thanks to its origins as two separate spaces: a house and a cottage.

“One of Chuck Feeney’s companies owned it before,” says Helen. The Atlantic Philanthropies billionaire, who made his money from duty free shops around the world, also owned nearby Neptune House at one point and stayed in the cottage here whenever he visited, she says.

Now the two spaces are joined, with the kitchen, living and dining room, plus the au-pair bedroom, in what was once the cottage.

Happy home
There is an enclosed patio garden with a water feature to the rear, and lawns to the front of the house, which also has off- street parking and a car port.

For a restaurateur, the kitchen seems relatively small, but it’s well equipped and cleverly laid out. It is separated by a breakfast bar from the dining area.

The livingroom and drawingroom open up into the large hallway – when, as Helen says, you’re having a really big party.”

Knocknagow House is for sale through Lisney’s for €1.295 million. The family have lived here for more than 20 years, and it has all the atmosphere of a very happy home.

New owners may want to enlarge the kitchen, and upgrade here and there to make the house their own, but all in all it has a great deal going for it.

It’s quiet and private, but you’re just a step away from the Dart, and a choice of good schools and shops are nearby.

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