Secret hideaway in Donnybrook

1a Smiths Cottages, Donnybrook, D4. €520,000


Anyone who’s had the pleasure of strolling through the Royal Hospital in Donnybrook will have noticed the greenscaped upstairs of 1a Smiths Cottages, a property sequestered in a corner of the grounds behind mature pine trees. This is one of the last secret green spaces in Dublin 4.

The one-storey cottage has had a two-storey contemporary extension added to soup up what was a 60sq m (645sq ft) property to make a 94sq m (1,011sq ft) house. Architect owner Andrew Morrison bought it in 2003 and refurbished it in 2008.

The entrance is at the end of a cul de sac of one-storey cottages which run parallel to Bushfield Terrace, itself a secret street, just off Marlborough Road.

Two small double bedrooms are set on either side of the entrance hall. A well-considered kitchen, with anthracite grey terrazzo countertops and splashbacks and a white terrazzo floor, is to the rear. The room has a long light-well in the roof but no windows. The kitchen is big enough to eat in but capacity for a sit-down dinner is probably eight.

To the right is a really lovely family bathroom with a sunken bath.

The property’s best feature is the sunken living room, three steps down from the kitchen. A wall of glazing looks on to the small, west-facing private garden. Its granite wall divides the house from the grounds of the Royal Hospital.

The sitting room is surprisingly roomy and has a solid-fuel stove curiously located in the corner.

Three more steps lead up to a small office area but it is the open-tread staircase that runs up to the main bedroom that commands the most attention.

The bedroom has an adjoining shower room and is dual-aspect: overlooking the garden and the orchard of the Avila Carmelite convent.

The house, which has a D2 BER, is €520,000 through agents SherryFitzGerald. It is now rented for €2,300 a month.

Smiths Cottages is just about wide enough to drive a car down but drivers would need to be adept at reversing to get out again.

A planning application has been made for a primary care facility at Bushfield House, behind the cottage, within the hospital grounds. Plans include a new entrance to the hospital from Cullenswood Park. This road will be wide enough for cars and will have street lights in what is now a dark space.

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