Relics of Dublin’s rare oul’ times ready for a new era

Houses with colourful history in Portobello and on Waterloo Road come to market

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Address: 35 Waterloo Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. and. Weston House, 9 Stamer Street, Portobello, Dublin 8
Price: €1,150,000
Agent: Hunters and. O'Connor Shannon

Waterloo Road’s prestige and desirability are nothing new. In the 1840s, when the Earl of Pembroke began leasing portions of his Ballsbridge estate for development, it was on the understanding that large, redbrick houses would be built for “upper-class families”.

The streets were to be wide and tree lined, the houses set back in gardens. Work on Waterloo Road, in an area already home to the city’s wealthy professionals, gentry and merchants, began in 1844.

Number 35, with two elegant storeys over basement and long gardens, was build around 1850. Dr Joseph Daniel and his wife Sarah, a nurse at the Guinness Brewery, made it their home in 1919 and, until now, it has been home to generations of the same family.

The Daniel family lived lively, useful and accomplished 20th-century lives in number 35. Joseph Daniel, no ordinary doctor, became chief medical officer for the city of Dublin and a leading figure in the battle against TB. He is remembered by the family “as a very kindly and sociable man, much loved by his patients and extended family”.


Then, as now, the kitchen and scullery (there is still coal in the latter) were at basement level, where Findlaters of Baggot Street would deliver the family’s food and beverage needs.

Joseph and Sarah had three children who cycled to school, played in local parks and, the family say, “frequently encountered poet Patrick Kavanagh” on the surrounding roads. Joseph died in 1951, and Sarah in 1972. Their youngest son, Louis, lived most of his life in number 35.

On the market for the first time in 99 years, agent Hunters is seeking €1.15 million, a reflection of the reality that, though period features (dado rails, cornicing, original fireplaces and more) are intact, the 214sq m (2,303sq ft) floor space needs complete refurbishment.

The lives and histories of Stamer Street houses are altogether more colourful than those of the more sedate residences on Waterloo Road. Named for Sir William Stamer, a lord mayor of Dublin, Stamer Street has some of the largest houses in Portobello, a neighbourhood long appreciated for the variety of its dwellings and denizens.

The area began life as an 18th-century suburb and those who lived there, even then, were inclined towards politics, the arts and sciences. The Martin family, who bought number 9 in the mid-1940s, fitted right in. Ambrose Martin, a veteran of the War of Independence, gave refuge to Basque refugees fleeing the Spanish Civil War and exported Irish beef and eggs to Bilbao.

Ambrose's eldest son, Eamon, was a man of letters and close friend of Brendan Behan who, a house painter by profession, several times painted the interior of 9 Stamer Street. Flann O'Brien (Brian O'Nolan) was another regular visitor.

Liam C Martin, the pen and ink artist whose work for decades captured the essence of Dublin street life, was a younger son. (His drawings appeared in The Irish Times from 1960 to 1964). Daughter Marie Therese Martin reared her own daughters in number 9; Veronica became Ireland's first artisan cheese maker, Doreen had a career in theatre and dance.

Number 9 was built in 1886 and needs refurbishing. Southwest facing, it has an originally laid out floor space of 246sq m (2,648sq ft) as well as 19th-century fireplaces in every room (both marble and ornate cast-iron), quarry tiled floors, panelled doors, sash windows and a curved stair handrail. There is a 12m (39ft) long sheltered rear garden and 6m (20ft) wide front garden, all of it waiting for some TLC.

On the market for the first time since the mid-1940s, agent O’Connor Shannon is seeking €950,000.

Stamer Street retains its residents. Agent O’Connor Shannon, though selling in the area for 21 years, has only ever sold three houses on the street. Two were sold in September 2017 when numbers 10 and 20, both in flats and needing refurbishment, sold for €980,000 each.