Make a splash in former car dealer’s Clontarf home for €2.7m

Detached Victorian house set on acre of grounds, complete with swimming pool, was owned by Brian Dennis of HB Dennis motors

  • Address: Iona, 130 Howth Road, Clontarf, D3
  • Price: € 2,750,000
  • Agent: Quilsen
 

Built in 1904 Iona is one of three detached properties at the Clontarf end of the Howth Road that were constructed by a Mr Coughlin. The two-bay Victorian offers light and scale throughout its 290sq m/ 3,121sq ft.

Set on just under an acre of grounds, the house is more than 40m back from the road and shielded from traffic noise by mature trees.

Iona was home to the late HB (Brian) Dennis, well known owner of HB Dennis Motors, and close friend of late taoiseach Charles Haughey, since he bought it in 1968.

Before that the house had just two owners, a George Campbell, who lived there until 1940 when JS O’Connor, whose father and aunt were founding members of Sinn Féin, bought it. O’Connor joined the Irish Volunteers in 1913 and was only 18 when he took arms and fought in the Easter Rising manning the barricades at May Lane beside the Jameson Distillery. He was interred at Stafford Prison in England and on release was active during the War of Independence. He went to work in a solicitor’s office and qualified in 1926 becoming personal solicitor to two attorney generals and a TD for Fianna Fáil. 

One of the reception rooms.
One of the reception rooms.
Master bedroom.
Master bedroom.
View of the garden with swimming pool.
View of the garden with swimming pool.

The exceptionally long rear garden divided into thirds really sets this property apart. Nearest the house is a sandstone patio with a raised lawn and a 25m heated swimming pool, where Quillseen agent Declan Cassidy says “all of Clontarf learned to swim”. Dennis, a former captain of the Irish water polo team in 1954 and 1955, swam in the pool every day of his life.

The hallway.
The hallway.

The layout

The house itself opens into a fine, windowed hall with coving and oak parquet underfoot. Ceiling heights are 11ft and the drawing room enjoys a bay window although the white marble fireplace is not original to the room. Glass panelled fold-back doors lead through to the dining room, another fine space featuring a confession box-style drinks cabinet – a colourful addition complete with curtained doors.

The kitchen is set to the rear of the property where there is also a study with an open fire. Both rooms lead out to the garden. The kitchen has a cream oil-fired Aga and units here were designed by Christians, latterly Clive Christians, in 1997.

Living area.
Living area.
The heated swimming pool.
The heated swimming pool.

Another door opens to the garage, a space running the depth of the property. While in poor condition this could form the basis of a new wing to the house, as it is likely the rear will be reimagined as a larger, more open plan and casual kitchen/living space.

Upstairs there are three bedrooms on the return, two doubles and a single as well as a bathroom. There are two more doubles on the first floor. Both have en suite bathrooms. The main bedroom, set to the front, stretches the width of the house and has a beautifully bright bathroom.

The decor in some rooms is in need of an update but the bones and proportions of the spaces and the way the light streams through more than compensate.  

Hidden from view behind mature hedging in the garden is an area that was used as a football pitch but could easily convert to a tennis court, while a third section is planted with fruit trees and backs onto the Dart line.

The property is seeking €2.7 million through agent Quillsen.