Broadcaster's Dalkey home on the sea for €3.25m

Thu, Sep 9, 2010, 01:00

DALKEY: €3.25MDebt and downsizing are behind Vincent Browne’s decision to sell up in Dalkey

VINCENT Browne is philosophical about the necessity to sell Atlanta, the much-loved Coliemore Road home in Dalkey he and his wife, Jean, bought for £94,000 (€119,000) in 1987. The house, a Victorian semi-detached with direct access to the sea, is on the market through Vincent Finnegan, asking €3.25 million.

“We’ve known for years we’d have to sell,” he says. “It’s far too big, now our daughters are both grown, but even so we’d love to keep it. We’ve no choice, however, but to sell.

“We need the money, although we could wait another few years. The money’s needed to pay debts from Villagemagazine, to buy another house and to supply some kind of pension because I don’t have one.

Browne, a broadcaster and Irish Timescolumnist, was the founding editor of Villagemagazine in 2004. It ceased publishing in 2008 but was later revived with a new editor.

Vincent Browne’s debts are understood to be €1.5 million.

He has not, he says, been put under pressure to sell by his bank. “There is no immediate pressure and although we do need the money we’ve got a bit of time. I gambled money on Villagemagazine and it didn’t pay off. If we got a decent price now we’d take it.”

He loves the house and its location and appreciates the “good friends we’ve made in the immediate vicinity”. He hasn’t availed himself of a lot of the perks of the area however.

“I pretended to learn to sail once and I don’t like the idea of fishing, too squeamish about the whole thing. I love eating fish though, which I suppose makes me a hypocrite. Gardening’s another thing I pretend to do.”

He has no idea where they might move to once the house is sold. “Until we sell there’s no point speculating, or even looking around. We might not sell for several years, and who can say what’ll happen before that?”

He’s willing to take another gamble to keep Atlanta, however. “If I could discover the Lotto numbers early I’d buy a few tickets and, well, maybe a win would allow us keep it.”

Atlanta, at 37 Coliemore Road, is one of a pair of tall houses sheltering behind trees at the front. It has a sweep of terraced gardens down to the rocky coastline at the rear. The 320sq m (3,444sq ft), three-storey house has four reception rooms and a family kitchen with a sea-facing balcony and spiral steps to the garden.

Built in 1870, Atlanta is likely to have begun life as a holiday home. By 1926 it had become the property of one Thomas Hamilton, who left it to his daughter Aileen Hamilton. When the house became too large for her, she shared it with the late food writer Theodora FitzGibbon and her husband, film-maker George Morrison. Vincent and Jean Browne bought the house from Aileen Hamilton in 1987.

A bright house full of spacious rooms, there is evidence galore of its historical pedigree in mahogany doors, fireplaces grand (in marble) and modest (in cast-iron), wide-planked timber floors, original tiles and the generous curves of bay windows framing views of Dalkey Island and sound.

The interconnecting drawing and diningrooms are particularly traditional.

Running from front to rear, they have matching marble fireplaces, high ceilings with decorative coving, mahogany doors and the drama of a bay window.

The kitchen, moved up from the garden level to be closer to the diningroom, has a rustic feel and a Rayburn range.

There is another double reception room at garden level, this one running the width of the house.

Booklined, it looks onto the garden through a bay window; a glass door opens to the garden.

The main first-floor bedroom also stretches the width of the house. It has two long windows, original floorboards, a cast-iron fireplace and a pleasantly pitched ceiling.

An original walk-in wardrobe could convert to an en suite. Three of the other bedrooms are on this floor. The remaining two, along with a second bathroom, are at garden level.

Atlanta, 37 Coliemore Road, Dalkey, Co Dublin

Six-bedroom semi-detached house with a garden that runs down to the sea has views of Dalkey Island. Many of its original features, such as marble fireplaces, are intact.

Agent: Vincent Finnegan