Two options for Liffey-side living

Both of these city centre apartments - one with a terraced garden – look on to the river

20 Butler Court, 31 Lower Ormond Quay

Get them right, and apartments can be marvelous – not the depressing badly built boxes of the boom, but well thought out units that make the most of space, and make city living a joy. Former Arts Council Chair and psychology professor Ciarán Benson recognised that 20 years ago, when he bought the then newly built penthouse at 31 Lower Ormond Quay.

Designed by Shaffrey Architects, Butler Court slots into the quays, just between the Ha'penny and Millennium Bridges. You couldn't really get any more convenient, and up on the top floor, you'd find it hard to discover somewhere more special. A balcony terrace extends the length of the two-bedroomed apartment on the riverfront side, while opening out to the right is a roof terrace with room to grow your own, soak up the sun, and eat al fresco.

“I chose to live in the heart of the city, partly as an act of solidarity with those others who wanted to restore life to its centre,” says Benson, who also notes the “amazing changes” he has seen from his vantage point. The trucks that used to clog the quays are gone, and he has learned to love the light there. “Anyone interested in light, and needing it, knows that all the light is on the North Quays.” Autumn and spring light reaches deep into the apartment. “There are some mornings in mid-December, weather permitting, when the light shafts reach down the corridor: a little echo of Newgrange!”


Inside, it's well laid out. At 87sq m (936sq ft), the apartment takes up the whole top floor, and has a generous hallway / library, and a large kitchen / dining / livingroom with fireplace and French windows leading to both the balcony and the terrace. The two bedrooms are doubles, and there's also a parking space and storage unit included in the sale, which is by private treaty with Sherry FitzGerald for €450,000.

“There is never a time when there is nothing to see from the front balcony,” says Benson. “I leave here with rich memories and inevitable regret.”

7 Crampton Quay, Bedford Row, Temple Bar, Dublin 2

Agent: Owen Reilly

Temple Bar is often associated with temporary living, or seen as just a tourist trap, but scratch the surface and you will find a small number of content permanent residents who love the area for its vibrancy, the weekly food market, and its location in the heart of the city.

Most of these live in the modern apartment blocks that began to spring up in the 1990s. Few period properties come onto the market in Dublin’s cultural quarter.

While number 7 Crampton Quay fronts onto the River Liffey, the entrance is situated on Bedford Row. Most of the accommodation is laid out on the first and second floors. The front door opens into a small hall, big enough for one bicycle, hung on the wall, and a guest wc. But it doesn’t really give any sense of the sizeable property above which is set out over three floors.

The bedrooms are situated on either side of the first-floor landing. Both are doubles and feature original floorboards. The windows in the master bedroom face north and frame the River Liffey and Dublin’s landmark Ha’penny Bridge. The master has a roomy ensuite bathroom that includes a full-size bath and separate shower. The room itself is a good size with the potential to install a wood-burning stove in its open fireplace but it lacks storage of any sort bar a large hot press, a shortcoming the next owner will want to address. The room is also situated above a newsagent that is open seven days a week from seven am to 11pm.

The Victorian property is BER exempt and the single-glazed sash windows may also provide little soundproofing against the bus corridor right outside.

The guest bedroom is situated on the quieter side of the building. It too has an en suite bathroom. The shower cubicle is slightly cramped.

The livingroom and kitchen are located on the second floor. The open-plan living/diningroom has Liffey views, a gas fire and floating shelving with recessed lighting. The slick kitchen, complete with gas range and breakfast bar, has French doors that open onto a small balcony that gets some southerly sun.

Another set of stairs leads up into the eaves where there is a low-ceilinged office, a welcome addition to the property and a great place to work from home. You can access the roof via a Velux window.

The two-bedroom property measures 117sq m (1,259sq ft) and is asking a bullish €550,000 through agents Owen Reilly who is confident that the property will appeal to someone in the tech sector. He also estimates that it would achieve a monthly rental income of €2,750.

Dublin city council bought the long lease on the flats in nearby Crampton Buildings and is currently refurbishing them. In May of this year 12 commercial properties within the Crampton Buildings complex, which included The Elephant and Castle restaurant and Gallagher’s Boxty House, sold through Savills and DTZ SheryFitz for above the AMV of €7.8 million.