Hidden Victorian near Dublin city centre feels like a country rectory

Detached Old Cabra Road home on 0.4ac has period proportions plus extension for €1.5m

  • Address: Everton House, 47-61 Old Cabra Road, D7
  • Price: € 1,500,000
  • Agent: SherryFitzGerald

Everton House, a fine detached Victorian property off the Old Cabra Road, is so hidden from view that its current owners, who commuted along that route for 25 years, had never even set eyes on it before they saw the brochure. “Even then I didn’t quite believe it,” says one half of them.

Accessed via a sweeping driveway the property, set on more than 0.4 acres, was in need of complete modernisation, to use estate agents’ parlance, starting with the removal of the tarmac that covered said drive and house surrounds, at a whopping cost of €18,000.

Having paid €455,000 for it in December 2011, according to the property price register, they moved in on Christmas Eve and set about refurbishment.

The house, which the owners believe was built circa 1867, had been extended over the years but had retained its well-balanced proportions and many of its fine period features including ceiling heights that exceed 3.3m and decorative coving and ceiling roses in the dual-aspect, square-shaped reception rooms.

The decades of paint layers on the stucco were painstakingly removed by one of their sons, who lay on his back on scaffolding “like Michelangelo” to do the work. While both of these rooms have marble fireplaces they are not original to the house, as these had been removed by the time they bought it. They found the matching pair, along with their fire baskets and surrounds, in Belle Cheminee on Capel Street.  

A couple of years later they brought in conservationist Tom McGimsey of Mesh Architects to deal with the many extensions that had been added over the lifetime of the brick-fronted home. His advice was to knock them down and start again. This they duly did. McGimsey, who has worked with the Heritage Council, many county and city councils and big houses including Russborough House in Blessington, Co Wicklow, oversaw the construction of a two-storey extension to the rear that makes the most of the southerly aspect.

This work included the creation of a large, eat-in kitchen that extends the width of the house. It has cherrywood units with pale stone countertops that have been hung in a C-shape while the dining area is to the right and overlooks the suntrap terrace that wraps around the house’s south- and west-facing sides. Two large banks of glazing wash this area in light and double doors open out to a private space that isn’t overlooked thanks to the mature trees that include a pair of listed sycamores and a large yew, layered with box hedging and herbaceous borders. The setting feels more like a rural rectory than the heart of Dublin 7.

And this is the property’s appeal. This sort of house style is plentiful in the seaside suburbs of Howth, Dalkey, Glenageary and Killiney but a period pile on almost half an acre within a 10-minute cycle of the city centre, adjacent to the Green line Luas and the DIT campus at Grangegorman is a rare find.  

When built, the area would have been semi-rural. Members of the Donnelly family who lived here for about 100 years may have been woken by the sound of scores of cattle being driven to market on fair days but by the time the GPO came under attack on Easter Monday, 1916, it is said to have been owned by one of its employees; a telegraph operator, Mr Gray. It is not known if Mr Gray bore witness to these historic actions.

The State bought the property in 1967 and used it as a training facility for its prison services for women, the owners explain. They bought it from Women’s Aid, which had installed multiple portacabins on the site that were used as offices. The owners gifted these to a local GAA team for use as changing rooms and had them craned up over the roof of the house to get them off the site.

Upstairs there are four bedrooms: three good doubles, two of which are dual aspect, and a small box room. The main bedroom has a sizeable, walk-through dressing room and en suite bathroom. A study downstairs could also be used as a fifth bedroom.

The property, which is BER-exempt and now extends to 290sq m (3,122 sq ft), is asking €1.5million through SherryFitzGerald.