Robert Ganly knows a thing or two about buying and selling houses. As managing director of Ganly Waters estate agents he has seen them all: from private islands to fixer-uppers, trophy homes to two-up two-downs, and managed to hook them up with their new owners. Maybe it's like being a matchmaker? If that's the case, the ad for Ganly's own home could read: Wanted, family to enjoy happy home with gorgeous gardens near to town. Fondness for dogs and golf helpful.
In fact, Robert and his wife, Sandra, never actually bought Lissadell, their four-bedroom 160sq m (1722sq ft) house in Rathfarnham, which they’re selling at a guide of €1.425 million. It belonged to Robert’s parents. “We met here,” he remembers. “You proposed to me in the kitchen,” Sandra adds.
That was the old kitchen, a darker space than the bright, open room we’re sitting in, drinking tea and eating cake. The old kitchen, dating from the house’s 1800s layout, and complete with original Aga, is now a large and useful utility room, while the newer space has a glass door to the sheltered patio, and also opens on to a bright-but-cosy den, with a solid fuel stove.
"We raised the floor so you can get a view of the weir," says Robert, opening the door to the sound of rushing water and birdsong. A fast-running stream divides the one-acre grounds, and beyond the patio a small bridge leads to lawns with mature trees, a very large self-contained garden studio plus garage (which offers flexible accommodation options), and a view of the fourth green of Edmonstown golf course. On the other side of the property is the Grange Golf Club. The city centre is just 20 minutes away.
The garden is well fenced – previous generations of Ganly dogs had developed a fondness for golf balls – so it’s a great spot to raise a family, especially with schools and parks so close by. Their children are now grown up, which is why the Ganlys have decided to move on.
“You could be a bit of a hermit here,” says Sandra, an idea reinforced by the fact that in the 1940s there was a turbine on the river, so you could have generated your own power. “It’s completely private,” Robert agrees. “The world could stop and you wouldn’t know.” Quite a seductive thought nowadays.
There’s also a diningroom that could work as a spacious study, and an entrance hall with various cloakrooms and cupboards on the ground floor, while upstairs there are four bedrooms, one en suite, plus a family bathroom. A rejig of the layout might be required here, as modern families seem to find the idea of sharing bathrooms trickier than their ancestors.
Back in the kitchen, the talk inevitably turns to the property market, and the shortage of supply that, Robert notes, “goes right up the chain. We still have a lot of expats wanting to return. It slowed down for a while with uncertainty after Brexit, but it’s revived. The inquiries are back.” And Lissadell might be a good starting point.