Along Dalkey’s narrow coastal road and up the hill towards Killiney are many modest gateways where granite pillars and high walls conceal magnificent coastal properties built as Victorian holiday homes for Dublin’s elite.
Beulah, on Harbour Road, is one such property. A handsome family home of 465sq m (5,010sq ft) sitting on 0.7 hectares (1.7 acres) of walled private grounds, it's a bucolic oasis minutes from Dalkey's harbour and the bustling village. It is for sale through Sherry FitzGerald for €6.5 million, and comes with use of a nearby private harbour, Rocklands.
The elegant light-filled home dates from 1844, when it was built by Capt William Hutchinson, and since then has been owned by a succession of prominent Dublin families.
Some of the best accounts of its history have been preserved by the family of Mark FitzGerald, chief executive of Sherry FitzGerald. From 1887, Beulah was the summer home of his greatgrandparents on the side of his late mother Joan, wife of former taoiseach Garret FitzGerald.
lived at Beulah for about 20 years until 1907. Charles owned the Phoenix Brewery, the second largest brewery in
at the time, and the family would travel out to Beulah in the summer from their main residence at 67 Merrion Square.
FitzGerald recalls his grandmother Frances telling him how their mother, concerned about pasteurisation, kept a cow in the stables on the square to supply safe milk to the family. During the summer months they would travel out to Beulah by horse and carriage with the cow in tow to ensure continuity of supply.
Later owners included the Dunlop family, who lived in the house around the 1940s and 1950s. They sold the house in 1979, standing on about 1.1 hectares (2.75 acres) for £379,000. Lisney estate agent Tom Day recalled it as "unheard of money then" and suddenly south Dublin coastal properties could command a "premium".
Two years later, Bartra, the house next door, sold for £500,000. The exponential appeal of south Co Dublin coastal properties was realised in 1996 when Gavin O’Reilly and his then wife,
, paid £1.95 million for Bartra.
Ted Rogers, the owner of Ireland's original retail record chain Golden Discs, bought Beulah in 1979. A decade later he in turn sold the double-fronted two-storey over-basement home for another "record sum" to the current owners, the O'Sullivan family.
The late Finn O'Sullivan, founder of transport and logistics firm Irish Express Cargo, lived here with his wife Anne and family until his death, in 2013. O'Sullivan pioneered the development of global logistics software for the freight industry and sold IEC to US giant Flextronics, in 2000, for about €75 million.
Anne has retained Beulah as an elegant and inviting family home. Wrought-iron gates lead along the gravelled driveway to the cheerful pink property, flanked by planting and shrubbery in full bloom.
The enclosed porch opens through double doors to a bright entrance hallway. Off this are the original reception rooms, neatly proportioned with dual aspect. The drawing- and diningrooms showcase the incredible sea view through box bay windows, and stunning original fireplaces, comfortable furnishings and tasteful artwork make these rooms you would never want to leave.
The house is in walk-in condition, but if aesthetic changes were to be made, the sea views from formal receptions could be further maximised by breaking through the dividing wall and adding central doorway access to the lawned rear garden and the seascape beyond.
An original doorway in the diningroom with ornate woodwork was sealed off at some point and a neat service hatch installed between it and the kitchen. The bespoke kitchen is located in the bow end of the house and leads through to an extension, probably added in the 1980s.
Anne broke through this space, and a wide archway links the kitchen to a bright family/breakfast area with box bay windows to the front and rear. Off this is a utility, toilet and access to the garden.
Light Son Simon O’Sullivan recalls Beulah as “very brown” when the family first arrived, but his mother set about introducing light everywhere, and carpets were lifted throughout to reveal the original floorboards. Upstairs are five double bedrooms, with one – at the bow end – in use as an office. The master has dual-aspect sea views and a sizeable en suite. The garden level is arranged to work as guest accommodation, with its own livingroom, kitchen, double bedroom and games room.
Beulah has uninterrupted frontage to the sea and a dramatic rocky outcrop at the foreshore. To have retained such substantial grounds for so long (a small parcel was given over to an adjoining development by the previous owner) makes the site extremely special.
Bartra, next door, was sold by Gavin O'Reilly in 2012 for €3 million to Colm Delves, chief executive of Digicel, Denis O'Brien's Caribbean-based mobile-phone company. This now looks like one of the bargain buys at the postcrash nadir, and Beulah is probably more realistically priced.