Sisters’ house could make a heavenly family home

Home to the Colomban Missionary Sisters for two decades, this fine redbrick property is in need of renovation to make it suitable for modern requirements

Thu, Mar 20, 2014, 09:15

After 40 years at 85 Eglinton Road in Donnybrook, the Columban Missionary Sisters are packing up and going. Though they’re used to that. The six Sisters who live in the very large Victorian detached house on Eglinton Road in Dublin 4 have each moved many times. As missionary sisters they spent their long careers in far flung places including China, Burma and Peru and in the tradition of their religious order (like many others) they each came home to Ireland when retirement beckoned. The house, which is on the Clonskeagh end of the road, is now simply too big and the six are heading off in various directions, some to the order’s smaller houses in Dublin, others to its new retirement complex in Wicklow. The sale of the house will go towards paying for that new build. Number 85, Eglinton Road is to be auctioned by Lisney on Wednesday, April 16th with an AMV of €1.8million.

The Sisters were not the first to change the imposing period redbrick from a family home for religious use. Its first owner in 1885 was a prosperous builder who had a large family. Two of his children were in religious life and the house was eventually bequeathed to the Jesuits, who had their headquarters next door. They turned it into a home for students, dividing rooms into several bedrooms but crucially they kept the main reception rooms intact so that even now on its main hall floor it doesn’t have an institutional feel. They sold it on to a developer who at the time must have seen potential in it – it’s a large detached house on .4 of an acre of prime Dublin 4 land and it is not a protected structure – but he quickly rethought his plans and sold it to the Columbans. Even though it is a very large house that needs work, it is likely that this time around it will revert to family use.

For inspiration all prospective buyers have to do is look over the granite wall and into next door where Loyola House, an even more imposing house, used by the Jesuits as their Dublin headquarters until it burned down in 2007, has been rebuilt, renovated and even extended by its new owner and is now lived in as a family home.

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Number 85 Eglinton Road is obviously in better condition than Loyola House was and while the Sisters live in the house simply but comfortably, it needs renovating from top to bottom.

It has three storeys and is double-fronted with bay windows and 427sq m (4,600sq ft) of space. The present layout really doesn’t matter much – for example there are a dozen single bedrooms and new owners are likely to knock down the partitions to return the upstairs rooms to their original proportions. Originally there probably were four fine bedrooms upstairs.

The garden level is a warren of rooms, including a couple of bedrooms, but new owners may want to extend into just a little of the vast, well-kept garden in order to build a massive eat-in kitchen.

There is off-street parking for several cars.

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