The Irish Independent, Friday, March 3rd 2017
In the 1990s Ranelagh was very much the poor relation to Rathmines, its neighbouring urban village in Dublin 6.
Both areas were developed mostly between the 1840s and early 1900s and both had seen the bigger homes converted almost universally to old-fashioned flatland and bedsits.
But back then retail was fast dying in Ranelagh with vacant shops all over. In contrast, Rathmines, with its DIT college, was buzzing. At the time it had two shopping centres, a cinema, a library, a public swimming pool and plenty of good eateries and lively pubs.
But as the property boom took off, Ranelagh began to become gentrified. Buyers priced out of Dublin 4 began to buy up the flatland warrens in Ranelagh and convert them into large private residences. High end restaurants began to take over the empty shops and then the Luas arrived.
Meantime in Rathmines one of the two shopping centres closed, the houses remained in flats, the DIT college moved and with it went the students, attracted to more modern apartments in the city centre. And while the economic crash knocked the stuffing out of Rathmines, Ranelagh, with its newly established population of professionals in recession proof sectors, held its own.
Happily, Rathmines is only now just reviving again. Ranelagh, however, is one of the most sought after addresses in Dublin. It could also reasonably lay claim to being Dublin’s foodie hotspot outside the two canals. The big name eateries include Dillinger’s, a US-style restaurant, the well known TriBeCa renowned for its chicken wings, Brioche which serves simple in season Irish food, Cinnamon, a massively popular gastro cafe, and the area even has its own fondue restaurant with edelwise – based on traditional Swiss recipes.
While those seeking to restore a pre-63 may find it hard to justify the investment in Rathmines, Ranelagh now offers larger period homes which have already had the expensive work done.
An example of one such home is a two storey over basement period residence at 79 Ranelagh Road, right on the main drag; which has just undergone a complete restoration and makeover from the ground up.
The good news is that unlike so many large houses in the area which have seen their fireplaces torn out and boarded up in favour of Supersers, and their ornate plasterwork destroyed through cack-handed subdivision of rooms; the ornate Victorian period components in this house are largely intact. This includes two smart white marble chimney pieces in the two main interlinking reception rooms located at entrance hall level and a large and intricate floral ceiling rose in the entrance hall itself. The hall level also features a modern bathroom with a shower cubicle.
For modern living the house has been equipped with high end bathrooms and a kitchen. The front garden has been reworked in smart gravel and there’s parking off street for three vehicles behind the gates.
In fact, modern lifestyles have changed to bring these houses back in favour again. Previously when we wanted our kitchen located separate from our dining room, these homes were tricky to reconfigure to suit that purpose. But with modern demands shifted to prefer a big open-plan kitchen, diner and living room open at one end to the garden; the great big old garden levels in these two over basements have proven perfect for this purpose.
In this case the upgraded lower floor contains the kitchen/dining equipped with a Rangemaster oven, high gloss floor and ceiling units by Brian Dempsey and an American -style fridge by Samsung. The worktops are in marble and the radiators are vertically fitted to maximise space and furniture placing. There’s a glass ceiling over the dining area to let the light in and double doors lead out the back to the garden.
Also on this floor is one of the home’s four bedrooms and a bathroom with an LED-lit mirror and a heated towel rail. This room also has some built-in storage fitted.
Upstairs on the second floor there are three double bedrooms and a separate family bathroom. All have built-in wardrobes and functioning original shutters. The bathroom has a rain water shower and an LED-lit mirror. The heating throughout the house is gas-fired.
Outside, the rear garden has a paved patio for outdoor eating in the summer months and a period archway left from the days when the owners would leave by the rear in a carriage or on horseback.
The house is located a short walk from the Ranelagh Luas stop which gives access within a few minutes to Dundrum Town Centre in one direction and to St Stephen’s Green and Grafton Street in the other.
This location also happens to have some of the country’s highest ranking schools within walking distance including the Jesuit-run Gonzaga, Sandford Park School, St Mary’s College, Muckross and Synge Street.
For a sunny Sunday there’s always a stroll to be had along the Grand Canal. The price is €1.25m.
The Irish Independent, Friday, March 3rd 2017
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