Style and sub­stance in Castle­knock

Ed­war­dian el­e­gance on ex­cep­tional gar­dens in Guin­ness heart­land and an enor­mous Egyp­tian won­der with swim­ming pool and built to with­stand earth­quakes

The Irish Times - Thursday - Property - - Property The Market - EL­IZ­A­BETH BIRDTHISTLE EL­IZ­A­BETH BIRDTHISTLE

De­scrip­tion: El­e­gant four-bed Ed­war­dian on 0.5 acres stepped gar­dens Agent: Sherry FitzGer­ald Tower Road in Castle­knock takes its name from the clock tower on the Farm­leigh es­tate. Some 37m (120ft) high, it was erected by the engi­neer­ing depart­ment of the Guin­ness brew­ery in 1880. It sup­plied wa­ter to the es­tate and, un­til re­cently, was wound each day by hand.

Sun­nys­lopes, a Tu­dor-style Ed­war­dian prop­erty close to Farm­leigh was built by a Mr Hig­gin­botham, who worked as an en­gi­neer in Guin­ness. The house was con­structed in 1918 – just a few years af­ter Arthur Guin­ness (1876-1949), who also worked as an en­gi­neer in the fam­ily firm, built Glen­ma­roon, which stands op­po­site.

The prop­er­ties share sim­i­lar­i­ties – con­spic­u­ously the Tu­dor-style cross gable roof, but Sun­nys­lopes is a more mod­est 170sq m (1,830sq ft), than the 1,300sq m of Glen­ma­roon.

The cur­rent own­ers of Sun­nys­lopes, which is well de­serv­ing of its name due to the stepped gar­dens and as­pect, added an ex­ten­sion to the prop­erty in 1997 which mir­rors the orig­i­nal build­ing.

The ex­ten­sion added a kitchen, util­ity area, mas­ter bed­room and a large at­tic space which was amal­ga­mated with the orig­i­nal at­tic, and now oc­cu­pies 48sq m in ad­di­tion to the 170sq m of the prop­erty it­self.

Two in­ter­nal walls were re­moved to give the cen­tre of the house a spa­cious L-shaped liv­ing and din­ing area.

A fur­ther ad­di­tion of a sun­room, with both southerly and west­erly as­pects, was con­structed in 2003.

High amenity area

Pleas­ant views take in the val­leys of Palmer­ston, right across to the Dublin Moun­tains and St Stephens Hospi­tal. Set high over Water­ston Park, this is a high amenity area so can­not be built on, the only sounds au­di­ble are cows low­ing and the rush of wa­ter from a weir on the Lif­fey.

The prop­erty has four bed­rooms, two of which have orig­i­nal fire­places, and the main bed­room is dual as­pect and pro­vides great views.

The at­tic is used as a fur­ther bed­room which links to a liv­ing area on the same level and is ac­cessed via a stair­well in the ex­ten­sion. While new own­ers will want to up­date parts of the house – the fam­ily bath­room in the orig­i­nal part of the prop­erty could do with a facelift.

How­ever, it is the gar­dens, which have flour­ished for over a century, that make this a truly spe­cial home. Set on dif­fer­ent walled tiers – as the prop­erty slopes down­wards – they ex­tend to 0.2 hectares (0.5 acres) and in­clude old kitchen gar­den cold frames, an or­chard, and an im­pres­sive Cor­nus con­tro­versa, or wed­ding cake tree, vis­i­ble from the liv­in­groom.

The house is set be­hind elec­tric gates, and shares a drive­way with an­other prop­erty set below the gar­dens. There is am­ple park­ing for three cars.

Though just 150 me­tres from the Knock­ma­roon gates of the Phoenix Park, the prop­erty feels a mil­lion miles from the city. De­scrip­tion: Colos­sal five-bed­room fam­ily home built to with­stand earth­quakes 743sq m (8,000sq ft) plus base­ment 364sq m (3,917sq ft) Agent: Sherry FitzGer­ald The ex­cel­lent qual­ity of stone in the Val­ley of the Kings al­lowed tombs to be ex­ca­vated close to one an­other, where Egyp­tian pharaohs were laid to rest as they awaited trans­fer to the af­ter­life.

Six eight-me­tre col­umns – in rose and yel­low sand­stone, speck­led with fos­sils, from the Val­ley of the Kings – now stand in the val­ley of the Lif­fey at Homeleigh in Castle­knock.

“I re­alised I had to soften the ex­te­rior as it looked a bit com­mer­cial – so I im­ported th­ese from Egypt, the cladding in the hall­way was sourced there also,” says owner Gar­rett Cooke, a con­sul­tant in pri­vate eq­uity funds on green en­ergy devel­op­ment in Africa. The col­umns and sand­stone cladding cost more than ¤300,000.

Cooke, who pur­chased what was an old bungalow at num­ber 6 Homeleigh in 2006 for ¤1.3 mil­lion, ad­mits the con­stant trav­el­ling and stay­ing in ho­tels had a great in­flu­ence on the de­sign of the home, which was over­seen by ar­chi­tec­tural firm AJ Whit­taker and As­so­ci­ates.

Stretch­ing to a whop­ping 743sq m (8,000sq ft), with a base­ment mea­sur­ing a fur­ther 364sq m on a site of one acre, the house is “built to a level to with­stand earth­quakes as it is solid con­crete and ex­ceeds San Fran­cisco regulations”.

Cooke, who is also a de­vel­oper of com­mer­cial prop­er­ties in east­ern Europe, used the high­est grade ma­te­ri­als on the mar­ket; windows were made in Poland and c ost more than ¤400,000, and a lift which con­nects the base­ment – where a swim­ming pool is lo­cated – to the bed­rooms up­stairs, was in­stalled at a cost of ¤100,000.


The prop­er­ties five bed­rooms are all en suite and fea­ture sep­a­rate dress­ing ar­eas. The main suite bath­room has a spa bath and a shower large enough to ac­com­mo­date a vol­ley­ball team.

Rooms are all spa­cious; “the orig­i­nal bungalow that stood here had a room which meas- ured 20ft, and I de­cided all the re­cep­tion rooms in the new house [three in to­tal] should be that size,” says Cooke.

The re­cep­tions in­clude a fam­ily liv­ing area, a games room with a full bar which came from a restau­rant on Dame Street, and a for­mal, dou­ble-height re­cep­tion room. Smaller rooms in­clude an of­fice, tele­vi­sion room and gym.

The base­ment would hap­pily ac­com­mo­date a fleet of vin­tage cars and has an un­fin­ished swim­ming pool – ready to go but for tiling and a fil­tra­tion sys­tem.

Cooke and his fam­ily are mov­ing fur­ther out to the coun­try­side, but the lo­ca­tion here for him while trav­el­ling “was su­perb, be­cause it’s 15 min­utes

‘‘ I had to soften the ex­te­rior as it looked a bit com­mer­cial – so I im­ported the col­umns from Egypt

to the air­port in the morn­ings.”

Sites in the es­tate gen­er­ally sell for more than ¤1 mil­lion.

Though well built, the house would ben­e­fit from soft­en­ing – some fast grow­ing climbers would take the slightly in­dus­trial feel from the ex­te­rior, and more soft fur­nish­ings and art­work might have a sim­i­lar ef­fect in­side.

The prop­erty would be suited to a large fam­ily – its acre of gar­dens open onto a park and Castle­knock Golf Club wraps around the es­tate.

As a place for en­ter­tain­ing it would eas­ily ac­com­mo­date 250 peo­ple with a min­i­mum of has­sle. Num­ber 6 Homeleigh is f or sale through Sherry FitzGer­ald with an ask­ing price of ¤2.49 mil­lion.

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