Elegant Blackrock property with sea views from every room

Elevated site on three acres of manicured gardens is for sale for €1.75 million

 

Perched on an elevated site in the pretty seaside village of Blackrock, Co Louth, lies Sandymount House, an elegant L-shaped two-storey-over-basement Georgian residence.

It was built in 1830 as a summer residence for the Shekleton family, who were the largest employers in Co Louth through their Dundalk-based iron foundry.

James Shekleton, an engineer, is credited with the construction of the first steam-powered fire engine in Ireland in 1860, and his company’s iron works grace the entrances of Castle Leslie, Blayney Castle and the piers at the mouth of Carlingford Lough.

The unusual use of iron, which to this day is in perfect condition, on the cills of the house is “testament to the excellent standard of iron used”, says current owner Joe Osborne.

Next to own the property after the Shekletons were the Moynas, a local merchant family, who added an extension under the direction of British architect William Isaac Chambers.

Chambers, proud to be associated with such an important structure placed an advertisement in the Dundalk Democrat announcing he was “now specially engaged in developing the resources of the Dundalk Estate”.

The additions included beautiful oriel windows in the kitchen and overhead bedroom.

Moyna left the estate with wife Margaret for Valparaiso in Chile where he made his fortune in fertiliser – from guano.

His daughter Beatrice returned to Europe and married Sir Edmund Compton – the first ombudsman in the United Kingdom.

Today, Sandymount House is home to engineer Joe Osborne and wife Nuala, who have lived here for the past 25 years.

After buying the estate, Osborne, in conjunction with architect Fergus Flynn Rogers, altered the entrance – which originally lay at the seafront – blocking the sea views.

The entrance now lies on the road side, allowing uninterrupted maritime vistas from the bow-fronted drawing room.

“Now every room in the house has sea views,” says Osborne of the 431sq m five-bedroom property.

The views are quite remarkable – taking in the entire expanse of Dundalk Bay all the way to the Cooley Peninsula.

At night the flicker of a lighthouse across the water serves as a reminder of the property’s spectacular coastal setting.

Nestled amidst tall Scots Pine, box hedging and meandering pathways lies a tennis court and an old changing room which the expansive lawn now hides.

Originally, the house had direct access to the sea, but the steps to the beach have been replaced with a wall for total privacy.

“At high tide you can leap off the wall straight into the water,” says Osborne. Bathers will be thankful for the commercial-sized sauna in the basement – perfect for warming oneself after a chilly dip in the Irish Sea.

Main wing

Inside the main wing of the property, the rooms are of graceful proportions and perfectly symmetrical.

The large drawing room designed by Flynn Rogers is flanked on either side by a dining and living room, both of which are dual aspect.

Osborne engaged muralist Joy Toal to adorn the walls of all the reception rooms, which have been painstakingly painted by hand.

Most of the period features are in perfect condition and include impressive fireplaces, coving and oriel windows.

Some of the original sash windows have been replaced by PVC, which the new owners may wish to change.

Sandymount House, which includes a guest lodge, is a remarkable residence.

The new owners will want to update some of the rooms, while the modern balustrade on the external steps is a little at odds with the architectural era of the property.

This could be softened with swathes of climbers through the bare metal arches.

The seaside property, on three acres of manicured gardens, is one of the finest coastal houses in Co Louth and is for sale through Sherry FitzGerald with an asking price of €1.75 million.

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