Elegant and distinctive, the landmark terrace of Montpelier Parade in Monkstown began construction in 1798 and was completed by 1810.
Built on an elevated site, it represents one of the earliest examples of multi-storied Georgian terraced buildings in the area, and was constructed as summer homes for the well-heeled to escape the city smog for fresh air and saltwater bathing.
Built by developer Molesworth Greene, a print in the National Gallery – which featured in the Hibernian Magazine in 1802 – describes the terrace as: “Situated at the 4 mile stone between Black Rock and Dun Leary – a beautiful bathing outlet”.
While it would have had unobscured sea views from all floors in its heyday – as is evident in the print, as nothing except green fields stood between the terrace and the sea – subsequent building on these fields means it is now just the upper floor that has views over Dublin Bay, while every floor to the rear has views to the Dublin Mountains.
The current owner purchased the property in 1995, describing it as “in complete and utter bits” adding that it took them five years to clear the property and site.
“There was no hot water or heating, and the garden was over two metres high with brambles,” recalls the owner who is downsizing from the 400sq m (4,305sq ft) property.
While working with officials from the conservation department in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, the owner found old Victorian baths and sash windows, which have been restored and reinstated in their rightful home.
The property was used in Hugh Leonard's dramatisation of the James Plunkett novel Strumpet City in 1980, as the home of the protagonist James Larkin played by Peter O'Toole. The series which focused on the tumultuous events that affected Dublin during the lockout between 1907 and 1914, was the most ambitious and expensive RTÉ production at the time.
About 17 years ago, a new wing at hall level was added, where a large eat-in kitchen now stands. It is very practical for modern living as it lies opposite a drawing room, which interlinks with a study, so there is no traipsing up and down the stairs, as would have been the case if the kitchen was in the basement.
Both the study – which would have been the formal dining room when the property was constructed – and the kitchen, open out through French doors to a terrace that leads down to the south-facing rear garden.
The basement of the property is now a two-bedroom apartment with income potential of €2,500 per calendar month.
The piece de resistance is the formal drawing room which has been reinstated to the piano nobile upstairs. It occupies the entire width of the house, with a period fireplace as its focal point, and three French doors open out onto a veranda, which is unique to the terrace.
As the property was built as a summer house, it is less imposing than many of its contemporaneous city peers and indeed nearby Longford Terrace, therefore ceiling heights are not as high, which makes for a more manageable house as far as heating is concerned.
Its location is one of the most desirable in all of south county Dublin, given its proximity to the sea, the Dart station and a host of independent cafes and artisan shops.
The property, which is a protected structure and BER-exempt, benefits from two car parking spaces adjacent to the bell-mouth gateway at Montpelier Lane, and is now on the market through Lisney seeking €2.35 million.