House in Skerries where the Lemass family holidayed

Edwardian house, close to the sea, has been home to GPs for generations

  • Address: The Red House, Holmpatrick, Skerries, Co Dublin
  • Price: € 995,000
  • Agent: Sherry FitzGerald Blanc
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A redbrick Edwardian house a short walk from the sea in Skerries, Co Dublin, was home to three of the town’s GPs in the past 60 years – and in the early 1940s, Seán Lemass and his family rented it for holidays in the summer, according to locals.

“Dublin people came out to Skerries for their summer holidays in those days,” says the owner of The Red House, Kathleen Woods. She’s been told that the house was rented to Lemass in summers during the Emergency, when he was Minister for Supplies. Skerries “was a great card-playing town, and it’s said Lemass played down in the Holmpatrick Hotel [now apartments]”.

The Red House, Holmpatrick, Skerries, Co Dublin living room
The Red House, Holmpatrick, Skerries, Co Dublin lounge

The Red House, Holmpatrick, Skerries, Co Dublin, a detached 247.4sq m (2,663sq ft) five-bedroom house, built in 1901, is for sale for €995,000 through Sherry FitzGerald Blanc.

It’s easy to see why the Lemass family holidayed there: although the house, near Skerries town, faces away from the sea, it’s just a few minutes’ walk around the corner down Weldon’s Lane to the seafront.  

The Red House, Holmpatrick, Skerries, Co Dublin dining
The Red House, Holmpatrick, Skerries, Co Dublin bedroom

Kathleen Woods and her late husband, Dr Desmond Woods, bought The Red House 31 years ago. Like two other GPs who had owned the house since the 1950s, he ran his practice from a single-storey redbrick extension at the side of the house.

The Red House has attractive period details – stained glass windows, deep coving, panelled doors with brass knobs – and is in meticulous condition, although new owners will likely want to modernise the kitchen and replace wash-hand basins in bedrooms, adding some en suite bathrooms.

A front door with stained glass panels opens into a terracotta-floored porch and through an inner door, also with stained glass panels, into the hall. On the right are two interconnecting reception rooms, the livingroom and the diningroom. There’s a white marble fireplace in the livingroom, which has a deep bay window with a window seat.

On the right of the front hall is a smaller lounge with a wide window topped by stained-glass panels. This room also has a white marble chimneypiece.

The Red House, Holmpatrick, Skerries, Co Dublin garden view

The hall opens into the kitchen and a sunroom at the back of the house: this has floor-to-ceiling windows and a sliding door opening into the back garden. The large kitchen, installed by the owners in the 1990s, is on the left; off it is a good-sized utility room.

Surgery

The space used as the late doctor’s offices and surgery is at the right of the house with a separate entrance from a side passage. It’s a large space, consisting of four rooms that extend from the front to the back of the house. New owners could use the space as a home office, or perhaps convert it into a granny flat. There is potential to reconfigure the whole back of the house, creating a noughties-style open-plan space.

Upstairs, five bedrooms – four doubles and two singles – open off the top landing, most have built-in wardrobes and wash-hand basins and are nicely decorated.

The long back garden is set out in lawn, bordered by mature bushes and divided by a path with a granite fountain, a patio and a pond. A garage at the end opens into a rear lane off Weldon’s Lane.

Holmpatrick is an area with a number of period houses: one nearby built at Holmpatrick Terrace in 1850, needing complete refurbishment, has just been sale agreed at €925,000, €175,000 above the asking price, according to agent Steven Blanc. Salcombe, a house facing the sea, more or less behind The Red House, has just been sold for €1,195,000, also by Sherry FitzGerald Blanc.