Restrained northside elegance in Glasnevin

Two Alexander Strain-built homes have come on the market in Glasnevin - one with unusual features while the other is more typical of the revered 20th century builder’s style


In its long-established Glasnevin neighbourhood, number 1 Cremore Park has always been referred to as “the manse” – and with good reason. From when the fine detached house was built about 1930 until the early 1980s, it was the home of the rector of St George’s Church on Hardwicke Street. Built by Alexander Strain – the deeds showed that he sold it to the church for just over £5,000 – it is not a typical Strain house being far grander than most others and with several unusual features.

These include the octagonal shape of the diningroom with its simple and elegant wall mouldings which also feature in the livingroom. For sale for €1.5 million through Sherry FitzGerald, it’s an unusual house too in that it seems back to front.

Access is off Cremore Park where there is a short drive-in, a detached garage and the modest front door – but the house’s grand elevation with a particularly pleasing symmetry is found at the rear where a pair of original glazed steel framed doors open out on to the garden.

Generations of rectors received visitors in the upstairs study – a fine room with its original panelling on one wall, fine fireplace and a bell to summon staff – and new owners might use this as a bedroom. However, there are six other double bedrooms over two floors so unless it is bought by a particularly large family it is likely to remain an atmospheric study.

What was originally the kitchen has been converted into a breakfastroom and a galley kitchen has been built off it in a narrow extension to the side.

The large hall, whose original panelling was replaced meticulously by the current owners with solid oak panelling, has parquet flooring and the elegant staircase which serves all three floors enhances the feeling of space in this 297sq m (3,200sq ft) house and allows for roomy bright landings on each floor.

A shower room services the bedrooms on one floor while there is a full bathroom at the top of the house. New owners will do work. The original small-paned, iron-framed windows while charming are draughty and there are no en suites, something that buyers in this price bracket like.

There is also the lack of a large eat-in kitchen although there is considerable space to build one on.

As well as the work required another consideration for buyers might be the view from the back windows. The owners are trading down and have built a large new contemporary designed house with a striking angular roof in the back garden so while “the manse” still has a large garden, measuring 73ft by 56ft, the new build, because it is very different to all surrounding houses, stands out.


Less than 10 minutes away, on the other side of Glasnevin Cemetery, the owners of 72 Iona Road are moving on after 30 years.

Also built by Alexander Strain, the 153 sq m (1,647sq m) semi-detached redbrick bears all of the builder’s hallmark features: fine marble fireplaces in the interconnecting reception rooms, tall ceilings, well-proportioned rooms and space-giving bay windows to the front which are topped with attractive stained glass.

When the owners came to replacing the windows front and back some years ago – they also installed matching porch doors – they had the original stained glass incorporated into the new windows to help maintain the character of the house.

The house, which is asking €875,000 through Sherry FitzGerald, needed updating when they bought, which they did, altering the layout upstairs but not down. In some of these houses upstairs there is a vast main bedroom that runs the width of the front – this has been divided into two, a single and a double. There are two more doubles – both to the rear – one at first floor level, the other in the return. There is also a small family bathroom and a separate toilet.

Downstairs the layout is much as it was when the house was built in the early 1900s. At the rear, down a couple of steps, is first a breakfastroom, with two windows, which opens into a very small kitchen. Both rooms have original red terracotta tiles.

It’s likely that new owners, particularly if it is a young family, which is likely given the pattern of sales in Iona in recent years, will change this layout by extending to the side to create a large, modern eat-in kitchen.

Other work likely to be on the cards is updating the bathroom.

A recently added feature of the house is the laminated oak flooring in most rooms. For those who prize these houses for their period features and who particularly like the mellow-coloured floorboards that Strain favoured, this might be a little off-putting but the owner says the new laminate is over the original boards so that could be reversed.

The south-facing back garden has the original redbrick outhouses and as the house is semi-detached there is side pedestrian access. Parking is on street.

Buyers have some choice on Iona Road at the moment with two other large family homes also sporting For Sale signs: number 62, a five-bedroom house with Lisney for €925,000 and a four-bed with Hamill for €825,000.


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