When they were launched back in 1972, houses at Kilteragh Pines in Foxrock were marketed as “hidden treasures” in a place of “unusual natural beauty, tucked away in delightful seclusion”. Built by Wates and designed by Kenneth Bland, a modernist architect with a rather unfortunate name, who conceived what were then called five “of the most luxurious bungalows in the country”.
The homes take their name from Kilteragh House as they were constructed on the grounds of the arts and crafts style house, designed for Sir Horace Plunkett. Though Kilteragh House was burnt down during the Civil War a century ago, it too was unusual and often described as eccentric; Plunkett, who became a senator, had a bed on the roof and a mechanical system allowed him to face it towards the sun or away from the wind.
It seems sites here were always destined for the unconventional.
Number 16, which is one of the original Wates builds designed by Bland, was purchased by the late Dr Sheila Mc Evilly, a well-known public health doctor in Dún Laoghaire. She was the daughter of Dr Conn and Patricia McCluskey, originally of Dungannon, who helped to establish the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association, which became a vehicle for the civil rights campaign in the North during the Troubles. A fabulous sculpture of a woman by Conn peers through the tall pine trees at number 16.
The house sits to the centre of a half-acre site with a south-facing garden and the tall pines allow dappled light into the 1970s property. In a way, its design has come full circle, whereby open-plan living and floor-to-ceiling windows and doors make the very best of its orientation. It also retains retro recessed lights from the 1970s which operate on a dimmer dial.
As it stands, it has four bedrooms and three reception rooms, measuring 189sq m (1,940sq ft) in total. All living areas and bedrooms face and have doors to the garden, which makes the whole place very appealing as it feels like an integrated part of its sylvan surroundings. There is also a detached 30sq m garage, which some neighbours have connected to their house via a corridor.
Dr Sheila McEvilly lived here until her death in February 2022 and the fact that it is on one level allowed her to do so as it is an accessible space.
Though having a half acre of gardens, it is surrounded by stunning communal grounds with mature gardens including a terraced clematis-covered pergola: “I remember I was 12 when we moved here from Mount Merrion and the gardens at Kilteragh were a place where we all hid in the hedges and played for hours during birthday parties,” says McEvilly’s daughter Claire.
The F-rated property sits on a private site with about 10 other flat-roofed neighbours, while Kilteragh House, now divided into three homes, share the communal gardens which have an annual maintenance charge of €2,000.
Number 16, which has huge potential to become a contemporary home, is accessed by a lovely archway that leads down a narrow road as well as from nearby Gordon Avenue. This early modernist house – which, when built, was asking £39,650 – is now on the market through Eoin O’Neill Property Advisers, seeking €1.35 million.