Kooky charm and complete privacy in Killiney
A cottage with four bedrooms, south- facing gardens and lots of personality for €1.3m
It was a small ad in this very paper that lured Maura and George Tully out from Mount Merrion to Garden Cottage, one of several properties that form part of a unique horseshoe-shaped stables that was once attached to Ballinclea House, a property Queen Victoria visited and which belonged to the Talbot family, who also owned Malahide Castle.
The big house was destroyed by fire. Garden Cottage, referred to in the ad as “a house of character on a quarter of an acre” was originally the steward’s house.
This was in 1974. The Tullys had just completed a large refurbishment of their Mount Merrion bungalow and had no intention of moving, but Maura, originally from Inishowen in Co Donegal, suggested they make a day of it and drive out to take a look at Garden Cottage. The owner was asking IR£20,000 for it, while a smaller detached cottage was IR£6,000 .
“As soon as I walked in, I felt like I’d come home,” Maura recalls. The property was in need of serious work but felt a bit like an old Donegal farmhouse. She had to have it. When the couple rang the estate agent to express their interest he told them they could have the two lots for IR£21,000 (about €26,664).
They sold the bungalow for IR£18,000 and managed to get a mortgage for the rest. Their eldest daughter was said to have cried, “Why did we move to this raggy, shaggy house?” .
While the couple tinkered with the house, extending the kitchen and turning one of its original five bedrooms into a large family bathroom, it retains the character and personality that first lured Maura out.
This property will not suit everyone – you will need to be as sure-footed as a mountain goat to navigate its many stepped levels. Ceiling heights throughout vary from as low as 2.3 metres to just over 3 metres and it has a BER rating of F.
But what it lacks in straight lines and open-plan living it more than makes up for with kooky charm and complete and utter privacy.
The house has two separate entrance halls. Off one is the property’s two reception rooms, a fine living room with a vaulted ceiling in part, wood beams and an open fire at its centre with a conservatory, added in the 1980s, that you step up into. There is also a smaller, cosier sittingroom which also has an open fire.
A second hall leads to the kitchen, which is divided into two areas, a lovely eat-in part with French doors leading out to the front and a small cooking area that is accessed via several steep steps. It has an Aga at its heart. There is a utility room off this and a pantry. Out back there is a small yard but the main gardens are to the front of the house. They are set out in lawn and are south-facing. A large cherry blossom guards the entrance. A patio area, off the kitchen, complete with retractable awning, seems like a suntrap.
Upstairs, there are four bedrooms. The master has an en suite shower room and lots of wardrobe space. The original two rooms have boarded-up fireplaces and one of these feels very bright thanks to the addition of a large skylight.
The house measures 250sq m (2719sq ft) and includes an adjoining but self-contained one-bedroom apartment 41sq m (444sq ft).
The property is asking €1.3 million through agents Savills.