Nothing is quite as it seems at 19 Kearns Court in Kilmainham. For a start it is the only house in an apartment complex, the garden is located upstairs, and from the front facade it appears to be a small two-up-two-down run-of-the-mill city house.
Furthermore, there are two pigeons trying to swim – badly – alongside two ducks splashing about in the River Camac, which flows alongside the property.
Even directions to the property prove testing; the woman who lives in my GPS hasn’t a clue, but the “take a right at the giant tap” (the DPL bathroom and DIY depot) directions from the owners are bang on.
The property, dating from 1860, is the former laundry to the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, and must be one of the quirkiest properties to be listed this year. It lies at the end of the terrace of an apartment complex beside the meandering river.
Forget the exterior picture, it is simply the white sash windows and door in the photograph that are part of this property, which actually extends to a sizeable 146sq m (1,572sq m).
Inside the hallway, which is partially glazed off from the kitchen, an old confessional box has been repurposed as a cloakroom, and the couple who have lived here for the past 11 years “found” a fireplace in the kitchen when they were having work done a few years ago. This now features a stove which keeps the room toasty in winter.
Because it was originally a laundry this property has many idiosyncrasies which just add to its overall charm. At hall level it’s the kitchen and converted confessional box, with a bathroom/utility tucked behind the stairwell.
But it is upstairs that the place comes to life and what makes it totally unique. A very large drawing room above the kitchen overlooks the river – where the pigeons are still trying to swim, to no avail. Ceiling heights stretch to about 14ft and have a metal ridge partially running across, from its laundry days. There are two different types of wood on the floor – all discovered when the property was done up a few years back, and again it adds to the appeal.
Off a wide hallway are two bedrooms, both of which are incredibly large by city standards. The bathroom in the principal bedroom was cut in two, to give a dressing room, and still retains a sizeable bathroom.
Off both bedrooms (one is used as a spare room) is access to the garden, which sits elevated overlooking the river. It's a really wonderful setting and where the owners entertain during concerts at the Royal Hospital at Kilmainham – the oldest classical building in Ireland, just up the road.
"It depends on wind direction, but it was particularly beautiful to sit out here and listen to Andrea Bocelli sing in the background," say the owners who are "trading across to be closer to family" and who need a larger garden. They say if they could lift the house they would take it with them, and it's easy to see why. Sherry FitzGerald is seeking €545,000 for the house which has the benefit of being located behind electric gates.