Get the full story at De Vesci orig­i­nal

The Irish Times - Thursday - Property - - Property The Market - GEMMA TIPTON

De­scrip­tion: Four-bed on prized Re­gency ter­race with con­verted two-bed mews to the rear Agent: Lis­ney Imag­ine if walls could talk. No 9 De Vesci Ter­race could hold forth and en­ter­tain for hours. For­mer oc­cu­pants in­clude Arthur Guin­ness (a rel­a­tive, rather than the brewer him­self), Ir­ish su­per­model of the 1960s Grace O’Shaugh­nessy, and Hen­ning Thom­sen. Thom­sen was the Ger­man in­for­ma­tion and cul­tural min­is­ter in the 1930s, and passed his time as a spy. His par­ties were noted for their con­sid­er­able “live­li­ness”.

Ce­cil Day-Lewis, once Eng­land’s Poet Lau­re­ate, and fa­ther of ac­tor Daniel, is also said to have stayed here.

For­tu­nately, while No 9 can’t tell its own sto­ries, the cur­rent owner has plenty of his own. For­mer Ir­ish Times edi­tor and for­mer mem­ber of the Garda Om­buds­man Com­mis­sion, Conor Brady now writes the ac­claimed series of crime nov­els fea­tur­ing De­tec­tive Sergeant Joe Swal­low.


Be­yond the grace­ful Re­gency-style façade of the house, is a beauti f ul l y main­tained hall­way, rich with orig­i­nal fea­tures, lead­ing to an el­e­gant draw­ingroom and din­ingroom, and the study. Here, there is a huge old-fash­ioned desk, a present from the news­pa­per, which, he says, he dreaded bring­ing home for fear of his wife’s re­ac­tion. “It was Ber­tie Smylie’s,” he says, speak­ing of an­other for­mer edi­tor of the pa­per. “She didn’t mind,” he adds.

It’s a peace­ful book-lined room, where he does his think­ing and writ­ing – cur­rently the fourth Joe Swal­low book. Does he al­ways know what’s go­ing to hap­pen next in his nov­els? “It’s in my head,” he says. “Though some­times I’m not com­pletely sure who did it un­til I get fur­ther in.”

De Vesci Ter­race was built in 1838, part of the ex­pan­sion of Kingstown with the ad­vent of the rail­way – though this was hotly con­tested at the time. Mr Gre­sham, of ho­tel fame, agreed with t he Duke of Welling­ton in Eng­land, that “it would en­cour­age the lower or­ders to move about”.

The dig­nity of the area was pre­served, how­ever, with stip­u­la­tions such as that De Vesci Ter­race must be ren­dered with Port­land-stone colour plas­ter – the fine for fail­ure be­ing £5. The fiver wasn’t for­feit, and the ter­race is a clas­sic.

When the Bradys bought the house three decades ago, it had been in apart­ments, so they lav­ished at­ten­tion on it and spent time re­search­ing the his­tory of the ter­race and the area. Brady points out the orig­i­nal fire­places, vault­ing, win­dows, shut­ters and plas­ter­work.

The house is on three lev­els, the kitchen be­ing down be­low. “It’s the heart of the house,” says Brady. The four bed­rooms are up­stairs, while there’s also a large games room along­side the kitchen. This lower floor had been a self-con­tained unit be­fore, and could be again, al­though if you’re look­ing for sep­a­rate ac­com­mo­da­tion, the orig­i­nal mews house (in­cluded in the sale) has been lov­ingly ren­o­vated as a two-bed­room apart­ment.

On the mar­ket for ¤2.4 mil­lion through Lis­ney, there are 346sq m (3,725sq ft) in the house, and a fur­ther 104sq m ( 1 , 1 20sq ft) in the mews. There’s a sun trap pa­tio be­tween the two, but as an owner, you have keys to the shared gardens in front of the house. These are just lovely with a chil­dren’s play­ground, lawns, gor­geous plant­ing, a tennis club and sea views.

Re­gency charm: fea­tures in­clude orig­i­nal fire­places, vault­ing, win­dows, shut­ters and plas­ter­work. Own­ers have ac­cess to the shared front gardens

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