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Future-proofed in Clontarf - house prices on the rise in this Dublin 3 area logo 31/08/2018 Celine Naughton

The facade of Castlepark House at 21 Haddon Road © Provided by Irish Independent The facade of Castlepark House at 21 Haddon Road Clontarf takes its name from the Irish Cluain Tarbh, meaning the 'meadow of the bull,' because it was said the waves of the sea sounded like the bellowing of said beast. Today the bull is bellowing again for property prices with estate agency DNG reporting a property price increases of up to 5pc in the area since January, demonstrating a demand for Clontarf ahead of other proximate locations. The same happened 120 years ago when the first wave of affluent residents put down their roots here thanks to the electrification of the Dublin tram service in 1898. The buyers were largely the new upper middle class merchants, civil servants and clerks.

"Up to then, Dublin businessmen lived on their premises in the city, but with the advent of the tram, they started moving out to the nearby countryside," says Dennis McIntyre, author of The Meadow of the Bull: A History of Clontarf. "The landscape changed completely, as tracts of green land started being gobbled up to build big houses."

The stained glass front door © The stained glass front door The area's key attractions then were much as they are today - a seafront location 3km from the city centre with good public transport and proximity to local amenities.

Sea bathing had become fashionable, and a new culture of gentlemen's sporting clubs had emerged.

"They built swimming pools and hot baths, and soon a plethora of cricket, rugby, yachting, swimming and golf clubs were set up," says Dennis McIntyre.

The entrance hall © The entrance hall Much of the surrounding area was owned by the Vernons of Clontarf Castle, who started leasing land to developers, most of whom built houses in small volumes. However, one builder stood out. Claire Gogarty's From Village to Suburb: The Building of Clontarf Since 1760, says most if not all of the 39 houses on Haddon Road were built by a single developer, John Kennedy, in a time when homes were typically developed in pairs and fours.

"It was a big undertaking to build more than about five houses at the time," she says. He sold some of the properties and rented out others. By 1915, Kennedy owned two stretches of the street, numbers 1-12, and 30-37."

The period rose ceiling © The period rose ceiling Built during the late Victorian and Edwardian area, the street is thought to have been named after a branch of the Vernon family from Haddon Hall in Derbyshire, who were immortalised in a bestseller of the time.

The historical novel, Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall, by Charles Major topped the book charts in 1902, around the time when Haddon Road was being built and is based on the social scandal caused in Elizabethan England when Dorothy Haddon, the daughter of a Catholic aristocrat, eloped with a Protestant.

In a nod to the castle up the road, one house which enjoys a corner site garden and a high boundary wall is named Castlepark House at Number 21.

The bay windowed living room © The bay windowed living room Among the first residents at Number 21 was city centre-based coachbuilder Thomas Doyle, who lived in Castlepark with his wife Mary, their three children, and Mary McDermott, a domestic servant from Leitrim. Their neighbours were merchants, doctors, solicitors, scholars… and tellingly nearly every house on the street kept a live-in servant.

Today Haddon Road is designated an Architectural Conservation Area, and the street with its red-bricked houses doesn't look vastly different from the way it did a century ago.

The entrance to Castlepark House features the same garden rails, tiled entrance path and porch, and colourful stained glass front door. Inside, a recent restoration has brought the property into the 21st century, blending contemporary style with period features.

The kitchen and dining room with doors to the living room © The kitchen and dining room with doors to the living room A mixture of 12-foot high ceilings, pale walls, exposed timber floorboards, and original roses and cornices creates a look that's clean, uncluttered and easy on the eye.

The modern kitchen/diner has an island unit with a sunken Belfast sink. Double interconnecting doors from here to the bay-windowed living room open up to create a space that's ideal for entertaining. Also on the ground floor are a guest bathroom and en suite bedroom with dressing room. Upstairs are four more bedrooms, one currently being used as a utility room, and a bathroom.

The staircase © The staircase Having just come to market it is already attracting interest largely from locals looking to upsize. And if they're looking to future-proof their investment, the agent claims that the west-facing garden with its patio, two sheds, original boundary wall, and a double garage with vehicular access via a laneway at the rear, has potential for further development.

"Subject to planning, there's an ideal opportunity to knock the garage, split the garden and build a mews house," he says. "For around €250k, you could build a two-bed mews of around 1,000 sq ft, which could be used as a granny flat, or an apartment for a grown-up child, or indeed sold. One couple who did this in a nearby development have moved into the mews and are now selling the main house. It could be a pension pot for the future."

The large west facing back garden © The large west facing back garden Castlepark House

21 Haddon Road, Clontarf, Dublin 3

Asking price: €1.2m

Agent: DNG Fairview, (01) 833 1802


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