6 Haddon Road, Clontarf, Dublin 3 Asking price: €1,500,000 Agent: Gallagher Quigley (01) 8183000
The British authorities in Ireland hadn’t an inkling that from 1919-1921, the very man that their entire intelligence network was hell-bent on finding was holed up each week for hours at a time in Clontarf.
Michael Collins and his own intelligence team held their weekly meetings in a house on Haddon Road during the War of Independence.
No8 Haddon Road, where the Collins network gathered, was then owned by Thomas Gay, a librarian described in the Dublin City Council Archives as “to all appearances a mild-mannered and innocuous bookworm, with a particular ability to make himself unobtrusive and so avoid suspicion.”
Whether the neighbours had any idea of the history being played out on their own doorstep is anybody’s guess. At the time, Haddon Road was occupied mostly by solicitors, barristers, accountants, commercial travellers and their servants.
From the start, this was a street designed for the professional classes and today it continues to command premium prices.
In 1994, when an estate agent first told Carol Neylin about a house two doors down at No6, she declined to view it.
As well as needing work, the asking price of IR£140,000 was far above the £120,000 budget that she and her husband had set. The Victorian redbrick soon went sale agreed with another party, but six months later the agent called again.
The sale had fallen through. The couple agreed to check it out, albeit reluctantly in Carol’s case. Little did Carol know that ultimately the couple would spend a million making it perfect.
“My first memory is the vista of the sea at the end of the road,” says Carol. “We were smitten with both the house and the area. We bought it at the full asking price and never looked back.
“However, living in a house built in the 1870s, I quickly learned that period properties can be draughty places. As soon as we could afford it, we had the back repointed and the sash windows draught-proofed. The difference was unbelievable.”
In 1998, they modernised the kitchen, converted the outhouse to a utility and guest WC, and knocked a separate toilet and bathroom into one.
Then in 2010, with three children in tow, they embarked on a major renovation to meet the needs of their growing family. They engaged Gerry Salley of Crean Salley Architects and Peter Small of Thornwood Construction to design and build their dream home.
“Gerry and Peter were brilliant at realising what I wanted,” recalls Carol. “I asked them to create a glass ceiling that would throw light into the dark hallway and they made it happen.
They replaced the radiators in the hall, utility and guest WC with underfloor heating and recessed the radiators elsewhere. Having the fireplace surrounds cleaned was a big job, but well worth it.”
Upstairs, they knocked a wall between the main bedroom and a smaller room next door to create a master suite which, at 300 sq ft, is bigger than many studio apartments. It has recessed lighting, period fireplace, coving, high ceilings, a sofa and a wall of mirrored wardrobes, making it look even bigger than it already is.
They added a bedroom on a third-storey return to the rear of the house, with exterior brick blending with the original. Two attics, both firewalled and insulated and one with a remote-controlled Stira ladder, provide storage.
With a floor area of 2,425 sq ft, the house has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, three receptions, a utility and an extended kitchen/breakfast/living room with glazed panel sliders opening out to a split-level designer garden.
This has a paved patio, tall shrubs, firepit and a wall of pink-and-white textile roses adding year-round colour — another of Carol’s initiatives. With her design flair, it’s not surprising that she runs an online furniture and art boutique called Decoris Pieces (instagram.com/decoris_pieces).
All in, Carol reckons she and her husband have put close to a million euro into the restoration and renovation, an investment that has brought this house into the 21st century but without losing its original character.
The asking price for No6 is €1.5m through Gallagher Quigley (01) 8183000.