Home Doll house Archbishop John Charles McQuaid’s paradise home in Killiney for 12 million euros

Archbishop John Charles McQuaid’s paradise home in Killiney for 12 million euros

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Killiney has no shortage of impressive seven-figure homes. But if you’ve ever wanted to elevate your position from well-heeled neighbors, all you have to do is climb the 72 steps to the top of Ashurst’s Observation Tower.

The original turret of the high Victorian Gothic residence was extended skyward by its most famous owner, the former Archbishop of Dublin John Charles McQuaid, some 100 years after it was built.

The bishop, a close friend of Éamon de Valera, settled there in 1945. A keen astronomer, he added the belfry tower, which today spans around 27 m and offers the most bewitching views over the bay. of Killiney. From this elevated position, you can see north to Sorrento Terrace, west to the obelisk atop Killiney Hill, and south to Bray Head and the Sugarloaf.

It is said that he liked to climb there to get closer to God, but the authoritarian figure probably also had fun commanding one of the highest points of the capital. It is reported that he also enjoyed shooting and pointed his .22 rifle at approaching magpies.

But the tower is now a mere talking point in a house that quietly offers a level of creature comforts that, if in situ in its time, could have given the cleric a serious case of Catholic guilt.

Designed by architectural firm Lanyon, Lynn and Lanyon, Ashurst was originally built for Sir Compton Domville, MP and landlord. It is likely that an associate of the firm, the architect Charles Lanyon, designed it. He is responsible for the Palm House in the Botanic Gardens and Queen’s University Belfast, which Ashurst resembles.

The current owners bought it in 2013 for 4.065 million euros, according to the Property Price Register, well above its then asking price of 3.5 million euros.

They spent the next 2.5 years converting the former archbishop’s residence, a space that architect Paul Brazil of Brazil Associates Architects described as “austere”, into a very beautiful, high-end, low-key home. . They have also brought in conservation architect John Redmill for advice and believe they are spending more than the purchase price to modernize it.

The tower had to be stabilized and the property’s 148 sash windows, many of which had their planters and shutters restored or replaced.

The floors have all been raised and insulated, and geothermal underfloor heating has been installed throughout the ground floor. Many needed replacing, so the owners chose smoked oak planks from Oscar Ono. This is a brand that smokes every board by hand and has been chosen to floor fashion superbrand Christian Dior for its offices in France.

Huge oak front doors open onto a wood-panelled porch where the Victorian tiling has been refreshed. The entrance hall, a beautifully wood-paneled room, whose walls are topped with the coats of arms of the four provinces of Ireland and beautiful simple plasterwork gently restored by the Old Mold Company, is now a music room. Housing a grand piano and a harp, it has an arts and crafts carved wooden frame decorating its open fire.

Stained oak paneling, having faded to a bright orange, has been toned down. Some have been painted over while the main staircase is now plastered with a soft lime which also softens its Gothic carving.

The key change was moving the living room and kitchen into the main part of the house, Brazil explains. What were once good formal rooms are now in daily use and connecting rooms that extend to the sunny south side of the property.

The Gate Lodge at Ashurst

The entry hall

The entry hall

A living room

A living room

Now relaxed spaces, they are perfectly equipped for family life. The dual aspect lounge has a gray marble fireplace, gothic arched windows and cream velvet sofas which have removable covers which come in handy as the owners have two dogs.

During the renovation, double doors were suggested to connect the living room to the kitchen. The owners rather wanted an opening. When the builders dismantled the partition, they discovered a perfectly preserved semicircular arch.

The kitchen, a design by O’Connors of Drumleck, is imbued with a host of features including a custom tin canopy over the Aga, an aged glass splashback and a bay window that frames views of the sugar loaf. There is a large island perfectly proportioned to the room and its 3.5 m high ceiling.

The kitchen

The kitchen

The dining room

The dining room

The library

The library

Steps lead up to a new addition to connect the house to the garden. Rather than go for Victorian pastiche, they chose a contemporary orangery made of Crittal-style steel windows and doors by Nigel Saunders. The owners describe it as “industrial Gothic”.

This gorgeous room opens onto a paved patio with a fragrant herb garden, outdoor fire pit and BBQ. It also connects, via a second staircase, to a wing of the property which once housed the kitchen and bedrooms of the nuns who served McQuaid.

These have been reduced in number to provide the property with a large triple garage, a communication room and a storage room. as well as a daily entrance to the house.

There is a third main entrance at the end of this hall which gives you private access to the new mezzanine where the owners have a stylish glass and weather resistant Cedral coated office with access to a south facing terrace.

On the mezzanine level there is also a TV room, an en-suite bedroom and a double-height library, a cozy space heated by a wood stove.

Back in the formal part of the house there are four good sized bedrooms on the first floor. The main one offers views of Killiney Bay and Bray Head, with a dressing room and a large en-suite bathroom. The view from the Bishop’s favorite accommodation is a view of Sugar Loaf and the mountains of South Dublin and Wicklow. The bathrooms are as well appointed as in any five star hotel. There are two larger guest bedrooms in the wing.

The finish, executed by contractor Whelan O’Keefe, is first class. Developer Damien Tansey used the company for his period D4 conversions – 19 Pembroke Road and 78 and 80 Merrion Road. Husswood Joinery did all the carpentry. The finish is impeccable.

The orangery

The orangery

Room

Room

A bespoke solid oak staircase now leads to the top of the tower where custom lighting allows you to change the color of its lighting. Sports fans might like to make it green on days Ireland play while romantics will like the red option for Valentine’s Day or to mark an anniversary.

The home sits on 4.7 acres that were perfectly designed by Murphy + Sheanon and include a Marian shrine – a McQuaid heirloom – and a haha, or sunken fence. There is also separate access from the property to Seafield Road.

The property is seeking 12 million through agents Sherry FitzGerald. The house, which extends over 1,018 m² (10,964 sq ft), is accompanied by a 63 m² (685 sq ft) two-bedroom caretaker’s house, renovated to the same level as the main residence and called “maison doll‘ by the owners.

On the ground are also the skeletons of old cottages of the estate, cleverly rehabilitated; the fanciest shed this writer has ever seen; and the aforementioned views, which would restore anyone’s faith.