More than a song in Monkstown

Marlin is a grand, end-of-terrace Victorian townhouse and is on the market for €2.8million. Its singer owner is trading down for something smaller


Alma Road in Monkstown is a south Dublin suburb with seafront ambitions. Located at the start of the descent from Blackrock village towards Dún Laoghaire, the street comprises an interesting mix of houses.

Number 43, Marlin, sits happily at the grand end of the Alma Road spectrum. At the top of the hill, on the corner with Monkstown Road, it is one of three terraced, three-storey over-basement Victorian houses. The upper floors look east across the rooftops to the harbour in the distance.

The house was bought by its current owner for about €4.5 million in 2004, and the family had little to do except move in as the previous owners had completed a meticulous root-and-branch renovation in 2002. At the time it was ideal for Valerie Armstrong and her young family, who were moving from Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, to be close to schools and city amenities.

Bright and airy
For sale through Peter Kenny of Colliers International for €2.8 million, this comfortable townhouse covers 4,800sq ft (445sq m) yet manages to feel homely and unfussy. Light streams through the huge double-glazed sash windows on the upper levels, while an impressive 14ft arched window on the rear return ensures the top floors are bright and airy – not always the case in older townhouses.

Up granite steps, the front hall makes a strong opening statement with its polished black-and-white limestone tiles and a dividing cornicing arch that mirrors the fanlight over the front door.

Off the hall, the drawingroom is comfortably proportioned and light floods through two huge shuttered sash windows draped in heavy silk. The room interconnects via double doors to a slightly smaller diningroom and two identical marble fireplaces unify the two rooms. A small study with a cast-iron fireplace and a guest toilet on the return complete the accommodation at this level.

Downstairs at garden level is an L-shaped kitchen/dining/living area floored in limestone flagging. The bespoke kitchen features a curved granite-topped island, twin Belfast sink and black Aga.

A cosy glass-roofed sunroom off this area is warmed by a sandstone gas-fired hearth and underfloor heating. Here French windows access the garden via a sunken patio, while doors off the dining area lead to another sheltered side patio.
Garden flat
The other half of the basement space is given over to a one-bed garden flat with its own access under the front steps. New owners could easily reintroduce direct access from the main house. The accommodation here is surprisingly generous, with a luxurious living area, separate kitchen and double room with en suite. A far cry from a D6 bedsit, this would be an ideal set-up for older children still living at home while studying or working.

The formally planted garden faces southeast and is of manageable size, though small in proportion to the house and bordered on one side by the busy Monkstown Road. The mature planting and secluded patio areas give it a continental feel.

An extension on the first-floor return leads through a glazed arch to a snug upper-level livingroom. An extravagant master bedroom on this level mirrors the layout of the drawingroom below as it would originally have served as a formal upstairs reception room with fireplace and coving.

Off this room is an equally lavish bathroom with a standalone rolltop bath. Upstairs are three generous double bedrooms with towering views that share a family bathroom.

With the family grown, Armstrong plans to focus on her twin passions, music and horses. A folk singer by training, she has one album under her belt and is working on another. She wants a smaller house but in the area.

According to the property price register, in late 2011 the mid-terrace house next door to Marlin sold for €1.58 million, while Number 9 Alma Road sold last July for €2.2 million.

Prices here are certainly moving upward, and Number 43 will be an interesting test of buyer appetites at the upper end.

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