Wellington Rd townhouse with links to Wilde, Yeats

The ghosts of Oscar Wilde and WB Yeats may well still be enjoying this elegant 286sq m property seeking €2.95m

  • Address: 61 Wellington Road Ballsbridge Dublin 4
  • Price: € 2,950,000
  • Agent: Lisney
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If the walls of a property could only talk and recount the events of its lifetime, 61 Wellington Road would have some interesting recollections. Records from 1865 show that Prof Edward Dowden, the distinguished Shakespearian scholar and professor of English at Trinity College Dublin resided here.

61 Wellington Road
61 Wellington Road

A close friend of Walt Whitman, Bram Stoker and John Butler Yeats, his interests included the occult, which was all the rage in the late 1800s among the upper classes.

Dowden was renowned for evenings filled with debate hosting the young intellectuals of the day, including Oscar Wilde and William Butler Yeats, who was enthralled by Dowden’s account of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s attempt to evoke the devil while at Eton, and inspired Yeats to establish the Irish chapter of the Golden Dawn, an organisation devoted to the occult which still exists today.

The reception rooms where Oscar Wilde and WB Yeats were guests
The reception rooms where Oscar Wilde and WB Yeats were guests

Dowden’s daughter Hester became a famous medium, and also penned her spiritual conversations with Oscar Wilde in her book Is it a Forgery?, later parodied by James Joyce in Finnegans Wake.

 She is immortalised in the JB Yeats painting Hester Dowden as a Child in the National Gallery, and is said to be the model for the medium in Yeats’s play The Words upon the Window Pane.

Today the magic of the house at 61 Wellington Road lies within the gardens and decor which have been meticulously maintained by the current owners, who are downsizing. When they purchased the 286sq m house, with its dramatic entrance flanked by two double-headed white cherry blossoms, “it was advertised as walk-in condition, but we had to rewire, replumb and damp-proof the entire house . But the joy is you end up with the property as you want it,” says the owner.

This is a well-planned home where elegance and practicality sit side by side.

Changing the third bedroom on the upper floor into a walk-in wardrobe and spacious en suite was one of the first changes – allowing for a suite of rooms that would give any five-star hotel a run for its money.


The installation of a Vale hardwood conservatory on the first return – where the kitchen lies – makes this a very practical house and perfect for using the formal dining room. The conservatory fits seamlessly alongside the country Shaker kitchen in a style that is sympathetic to the property.

The Vale conseratory
The Vale conseratory

 Lisney agent Stephen Day estimates a Vale conservatory of this calibre would now cost in the region of €200,000. The house is seeking €2.95 million.

Other details such as a wine cave in the rear garden in what was formerly a coal bunker, impressive fireplaces in the elegant reception rooms and a hand painted bath panel by Belinda Ballantine all add to the charm.

Adjacent to a guest suite at garden level lies a study.

The study sits at garden level
The study sits at garden level

 The west-facing rear garden is accessed via a domed tunnel from the conservatory. It is covered in cherry blossom and is tranquil despite its proximity to the city.

 There still exists, after 150 years, a sense of magic at No 61.