His­toric coastal Pal­la­dian es­tate for ¤10m

Seafield House in Don­abate, in an 80-acre park­land set­ting, was the for­mer home of Sir Robert and Lady Goff. With views across the es­tu­ary to Malahide, it is one of Dublin’s finest re­stored homes and best kept se­crets

The Irish Times - Thursday - Property - - Front Page - Madeleine Lyons

Seafield House in Don­abate may be lo­cated a half hour from the city cen­tre but once through the gates it’s like en­ter­ing another realm. At the end of the long tree-lined avenue the main house re­veals it­self, and what a re­veal. A rare Pal­la­dian man­sion stand­ing proudly in an 80-acre park­land set­ting with views across the es­tu­ary to Malahide, it is one of Dublin’s finer homes and best kept se­crets.

One of Seafield’s great claims is that it is be­lieved to have been built nearly 300 years ago by the clas­si­cal ar­chi­tect Sir Ed­ward Lovett Pearce. A cham­pion of the Pal­la­dian style, his finest build­ings in Ire­land in­clude Castle­town House and the Ir­ish Houses of Par­lia­ment (to­day the Bank of Ire­land) on Col­lege Green. Lovett Pearce died in 1733 and the orig­i­nal Seafield House dat­ing from 1730 cer­tainly bears many of the hall­marks of his el­e­gant sym­met­ri­cal de­signs.

About a 100 years later a west wing was added to in­clude an Ital­ianate tower (more of a cos­metic than prac­ti­cal en­hance­ment)and a coach and sta­ble yard com­plete with clock tower. The orig­i­nal owner of the prop­erty was Ben­dict Arthure, the high sher­iff of Dublin. It was then for many years in the hands of the Hely-Hutchin­son fam­ily, prom­i­nent fig­ures in Ir­ish po­lit­i­cal his­tory. Its lat­ter day own­ers were the renowned prop­erty and art col­lec­tors Sir Robert and Lady Shee­lagh Goff who lived at Seafield House for many years be­fore mov­ing to the Ballincor es­tate on 4,000 acres in the Wick­low Moun­tains.

In 1996 they sold the house to the cur­rent own­ers for just un­der IR£1 mil­lion. Liam and Kaye Cronin, orig­i­nally from Cork, had lived in Lon­don for many years where Liam had built a sub­stan­tial clothes im­port busi­ness, but in the late 1990s they de­cided to plan a re­turn to Ire­land and Seafield House was iden­ti­fied.

Liam says Kaye couldn’t un­der­stand why more peo­ple weren’t in­ter­ested in buy­ing Seafield at the time; he adds that it may have had some­thing to do with the sub­stan­tial ad­di­tional in­vest­ment re­quired in the prop­erty.

Its re­fur­bish­ment, re­tain­ing orig­i­nal fea­tures, took more than a year, and an es­ti­mated IR£3 mil­lion to com­plete. It in­volved a com­plete rewiring, re-

‘‘ One of Seafield’s great claims is that it is be­lieved to have been built nearly 300 years ago by the clas­si­cal ar­chi­tect Sir Ed­ward Lovett Pearce

plumb­ing, reroof­ing and upgrade of win­dows and bath­rooms, and even the ad­di­tion of a new flight of gran­ite steps sweep­ing up to the front door.

Some 21 years on, and the Cronins are ready now for re­tire­ment proper. and are mov­ing on to (nearby) pas­tures new. They are sell­ing Seafield House with 895sq m/9,634sq ft on 80 acres with gar­dens, coach and sta­ble yard through Sherry FitzGer­ald Coun­try Homes for ¤9.95 mil­lion.

Dur­ing their ten­ure the Cronins took great care to pre­serve the his­tory of the house which cen­tres around a dra­matic dou­ble-height en­trance hall, which, typ­i­cal of the de­sign style of the time, runs the depth of the build­ing and is unim­peded by the stair­case tucked away off the hall.

The re­sult is a bright, nat­u­rally-lit space dom­i­nated by a se­ries of metic­u­lously re­stored full-length wall paint­ings of var­i­ous fig­ures from Clas­si­cal mythol­ogy. From the school of Dutch artist Wil­liam van der Ha­gen, these unique mono­chrome draw­ings are some of the ear­li­est ex­am­ples of their kind in Ire­land.

Over­look­ing the grand hall is an open gallery link­ing the prin­ci­ple bed­rooms on the up­per floor.

Kaye spent three years dec­o­rat­ing the house to a rich and sump­tu­ous pal­ette of colours and tex­tures. A striking be­spoke car­pet runs through­out the prop­erty from the main hall and gives a lux­u­ri­ous flow to the house. The graphic em­blem at its heart mir­rors the fan­light de­sign over the front door.

Else­where, and in par­tic­u­lar in the three fine re­cep­tion rooms off the main hall, great care has been taken to re­tain the qual­i­ties of the orig­i­nal de-

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