Decent Georgian proposal in Shankill for €1.25m

Elegant country house on 3.3 acres was built in 1837 to maximise scenic vistas

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Address: Shankill House, Ferndale Road Rathmichael, Dublin 18
Price: €1,250,000
Agent: Savills and Hunters
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A late Georgian house in Rathmichael, Dublin 18, which has been unoccupied for well over a decade, has been partly redeveloped and staged for sale. While it needs a lot more work to complete its renovation, it could be a bargain for someone prepared to take it on. At 636sq m (6,850sq ft) the property, on 3.3 acres, is for sale through joint agents Savills and Hunters for €1.25 million.

Separately, Savills is selling the 7.6-acre site that surrounds the house for €3 million: it comes with planning permission for 10 five-bedroom detached houses.

For €1.25 million – the asking price of many south Dublin suburban semis – the buyers of Shankill House will get an elegant country house built in 1837 with original period features, such as the many tall sash windows with working shutters and ceiling cornicing. It seems to be in surprisingly good condition, given how long it has been unoccupied. This is a large and very bright house, where most rooms are dual aspect, and has been staged by Breeda O’Sullivan of Hunters Interiors.

A striking 35ft-long drawing room wallpapered in red with five deep windows runs from the front to the back of the house. The sitting room on the opposite side of the hall is, like most of the house, painted white and has, like the drawing room, a large marble fireplace.


The wide front hall is floored with glossy black-and-white tiles, and the reception rooms are floored with large beige tiles; there’s a relatively small modern kitchen behind the sitting room with an island unit and a study, which could be a fifth bedroom. There are smart modern bathrooms on the ground floor and first-floor returns as well as in the en suite main bedroom. Four bedrooms open off a wide landing with a polished timber floor and a nearly floor-to-ceiling window.

They’re all large, and the beige-carpeted main bedroom has an en suite and a door to a storeroom that could be converted into a dressing room. There are views across the fields running down to Ferndale Road where some of the 10 houses will be built.

Basement work

In short, new owners could live comfortably in the house while completing the work – most of which needs to be done in the basement, where there are four unfinished rooms and a modern tiled shower room. Of course, new owners will need to do a thorough survey to check out the condition of the house.

But the protected building gets a good mention in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage: “A prolonged period of unoccupancy notwithstanding, the elementary form and massing survive intact together with substantial quantities of the original fabric, both to the exterior and to the interior, where contemporary joinery; restrained chimneypieces; and plasterwork refinements, all highlight the artistic potential of a country house . . .”

It also points out that it was built to maximise “scenic vistas overlooking rolling grounds with glimpses of the Irish Sea”.

There are two decent-sized one-bed houses at the back of the house as well as a stone-clad studio, all needing refurbishment. There’s a door at the end of the front hall to a patio at the back, with steps up to a relatively small lawn. Most of the garden is to the front of the house.

Shankill House sits towards the back of its sloping 3.3-acre site: plans show that 10 detached houses would be built to the front and side of the house on 7.6 acres.

Home of Ken Bates

The property has changed hands a number of times in the past 20 years and various plans were made for it: the house and 12.75 acres were withdrawn from auction at €4.75 million in 2000. Applications were subsequently made by developer Frank Gilmer to build a nursing home there, then later, a varying number of detached houses.

In 2014 it was bought by the current vendor, when the house was up for sale for €1.5 million and the land for €2.5 million. Cavan-based Charton Homes was granted permission to build 10 homes on the site in 2015 after an application to build 50 had been refused. In 2017, 8.164 acres around the house came on the market for €3.8 million but didn't sell and in 2018, permission to build 17 large detached homes on the site was refused.

The house, built by one Jasper Villiers Fowler in 1837, was once reportedly the home of Ken Bates, former owner of Chelsea football club.

Frances O'Rourke

Frances O'Rourke

Frances O'Rourke, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about homes and property