Seán Lemass’s former Churchtown home for €2.95m

Distinctive Victorian with original features and contemporary finishes in Dublin 14

  • Address: Ronan House, Upper Churchtown Road, D14
  • Price: € 2,950,000
  • Agent: Sherry FitzGerald
 

When Colin and Ann Maybin bought Ronan House in Churchtown, Dublin, in 1992, they faced the daunting task of completely refurbishing a property that had become a shadow of its former self. It comprised half of what used to be Churchtown Park House, a grand Victorian house built on several acres in 1859 that dominated that stretch of Upper Churchtown Road.

It was formerly the home of Fianna Fáil politician Seán Lemass, who served as taoiseach from 1959 to 1966. Lemass rented the house in the 1930s, when he was minister for industry and commerce in Eamon De Valera’s government. At some stage, says Colin, the house was split in two, becoming adjoining semi-detached residences.

The couple did a top-to-bottom refurbishment, creating a distinctive, distinguished home that blends modern living with old-world elegance. In 2001 they added an extension that almost doubled the size of the property to 418sq m (4,500sq ft). The extension features a magnificent main bedroom that spans from front to back, lit by large sash windows at each end. The bedroom has vaulted ceilings and rooflights, and sometimes, says Colin, they are awoken by the moonlight pouring in. If that’s a problem for new owners, remote-controlled blinds will solve it. There’s a minimalist feel to this room, with the bed positioned in the centre of the room and Sliderobes for storage. A Juliet balcony overlooks the lovely back garden, and an en suite to the front has been recently upgraded with a walk-in rainfall shower.

Downstairs in the extension is a games or leisure room, big enough for a large snooker table, a table-tennis table, exercise machines, entertainment corner and a gaggle of teenagers. Next to that is a spacious garage. There’s also a fine office space with wall-to-wall units designed to maximise working from home.

Entrance hall
Entrance hall
Drawing room
Drawing room
Drawing room
Drawing room
Games room
Games room

The couple also built a new front wall with railings, wrought-iron electric gates and imposing pillars leading into a spacious driveway and landscaped front garden. Granite steps lead up to the original front door, but the family tend to use the ground-floor entrance that leads into the kitchen/living area, the hub of the house.

The bespoke Warendorf kitchen features porcelain floor tiles, Corian countertops, a large island with a breakfast counter and an Aga. Adjoining it is a family room with a contemporary gas-effect fireplace, and a Sonos built-in speaker system. Double doors lead into the beautiful, private, southerly back garden, an 85ft-long oasis of calm with large Indian stone terrace and raised flowerbeds. The couple say they will miss this the most when they leave.

Downstairs living room
Downstairs living room
Kitchen
Kitchen
Main bedroom
Main bedroom
Bathroom
Bathroom

On the way up the stairs to the main hallway, there’s a small bedroom on the return that would make a perfect playroom – easily reached from either the kitchen or the elegant drawing room which runs the length of the house. This retains original features such as sash windows, which they restored, shutters, marble fireplace and ceiling rose. The coving had to be carefully recreated, says Colin, but the effect is no less decorative.

There are four more bedrooms: a large single and a generous double overlooking the front gardens, a double with solid timber flooring on the third floor return, and a bedroom with picture window overlooking the back garden, with a study area and shelving, leading to a shower room. The family bathroom is on the first floor half-landing.

A large piano and a scattering of classical guitars give clues to the family’s musical background. Ann established the Churchtown School of Music, which once used the house next door as its premises, but is now located just down the road at Dundrum village centre. Their daughter Rebecca now runs the school and their son Andrew teaches there.

Patio
Patio
Rear garden
Rear garden

The house has served them well as a family home, but now with their children long moved out and all living in the area, the couple are planning to downsize – preferably within the area.

The property, which as a protected structure is Ber exempt, is close to the shopping areas of Churchtown and Dundrum, with Milltown Golf Club across the road and good schools nearby. It’s also within reach of the M50 and close to the Luas. It is for sale through Sherry FitzGerald, seeking €2.95 million.