Victorian gate lodge in the heart of Dublin 4 for €750,000

White Oaks Lodge includes vaulted ceiling and home office following clever redesign

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Address: Whiteoaks Lodge, 12A Stillorgan Road, Donnybrook, Dublin 4
Price: €750,000
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald
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Chances are if you swam in a midlands or Cork public pool in 1970s Ireland, it was constructed by Maurice Foley: "At the time I was building running tracks, all-weather hockey pitches and tennis courts for UK firm En Tout Cas, and one day the company asked me if I had ever built a pool. I hadn't, so they said they would show me."

So began the journey for Foley that saw swimming pools constructed in Edenderry, Portlaoise, Fermoy and Cork and the Blue Pool in Dún Laoghaire.

He subsequently purchased Hollymount House in Co Wicklow, which he restored and leased as a film location for Fred Astaire's final film, The Purple Taxi. "They burned it down using special effects, and then shortly afterwards I became involved in special effects for an advertisement for Kellogg's, where a girl swam through a pool that looked like cereal boxes," he says.

The gate lodge is opposite RTÉ
The livingroom
The study at mezzanine level
The main bedroom

A pool was constructed in Ardmore Studios and from there Foley began his foray into the world of special effects. His repertoire in special effects, built over two decades, includes films such as The Commitments, Far and Away, The Tailor of Panama and the horrifying scenes in Jim Sheridan's epic The Field, which depicts cattle and sheep driven to their death over steep cliffs when the Bull McCabe (Richard Harris) finally loses his mind.


After selling Hollymount House, one day while commuting to Ardmore Studios in Bray, Foley noticed a for sale sign on a gate lodge opposite RTÉ, which he subsequently purchased and renovated: "It is the gate lodge for White Oaks House, which is now the official residence for the president of University College Dublin and the driveway is just shared with one other property," explains Foley.

His home, White Oaks Lodge, was again renovated in 2000. This time it was redesigned by Foxrock architect Thomas Kelly who made the most of the 88sq m (947sq ft) property. It now has three bedrooms and a lovely mezzanine – currently used as Foley's study. Clever design now means the entire staircase acts as storage units and one of the nicest features is the livingroom with a vaulted ceiling and cut granite fireplace.

Besides being just down the road from Donnybrook village and close to a number of Dublin's private schools, the property has a bus stop 100m (328ft) from the gate which serves the Aircoach to Dublin Airport, and Dublin Bus routes that serve Heuston Station, Phoenix Park and well as numerous routes to town.

Foley is moving to be closer to family and has placed his home, which is in turnkey condition with a BER of E1, on the market through Sherry FitzGerald seeking €750,000.

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about property, fine arts, antiques and collectables