Kinsealy complex on acre of tranquillity for €1.45m

Georgian house comes with a gate lodge and ancillary buildings

This article is over 2 years old
Address: Cintra Maladhide Road Kinsealy Co Dublin
Price: €1,450,000
Agent: Lisney
View this property on

The property today called Cintra, on Malahide Road in Kinsealy, Co Dublin, appears on maps from 1820 that refer to the house as Abbeville Cottage; this is because the property and ancillary buildings were once part of the Abbeville estate. It was thought to be the farmhouse for the estate – once home to the late former taoiseach Charles J Haughey – and had staff quarters, a folly and hop store.

By 1850 its name had changed to Cintra, by the then owner Sir Ralph Smyth Cusack, who was chairman of the Midland and Great Western Railways from 1865 to 1905. It has been suggested that Smyth Cusack's spelling of Cintra is actually an error as it takes its name from Sintra in Portugal, a charming little town situated in the cooling hills of Serra de Sintra.

When it came up for sale in 1950, it was described in an Allen and Townsend brochure as a "first class" house with a gate lodge, located in a "green belt area" and having "extensive outhouses, including stabling for four horses, a potting shed, fuel stores and hen houses". In essence the old brochure tells the story of the house on the market today, which has been listed through Lisney for €1.45 million: "A double-fronted, two-storey old world residence on one and a half acres" and it still has the outhouses and sheds, but the majority of these have been converted by the current owner, Patrick O'Sullivan, who has called Cintra home for the past 31 years.

A one-bedroom gate lodge with study, extending to 55sq m (590sq ft), stands at the entrance, and the fact that there is a band of trees and shrubs means if the quaint lodge is rented out, it allows privacy for both new owners and a gate-lodge tenant. The original kitchen, which had staff quarters, has now been converted into a two-bedroom apartment, which O’Sullivan has let on the rent-a-room scheme for the past couple of years.


The main house, which is not protected, extends to 223sq m (2,400sq ft) with five bedrooms, and retains many original features including plasterwork and fireplaces. It is all a bit of a moveable feast with the ancillary buildings, some of which have lovely stonework, as does the remains of a folly on the grounds which would have served Abbeville in its heyday.

Located 4km from Malahide, it lies on more than an acre of mature gardens, and occupies a corner site, bordered on one side by Malahide Road and by a private entrance to the Abbeville estate on another. This road is only used as the entrance for Abbeville and Cintra, allowing much privacy.

Abbeville (formerly Abbeyville House), which was enlarged by architect James Gandon, was home to Haughey from 1969 until 2003, when it was sold to Manor Homes. "Charlie was a brilliant neighbour and treated us very well. We never told stories on one another, but he was some man for entertaining," recalls O'Sullivan.

The estate subsequently sold to a wealthy Japanese family, headed by Norimasa Nishida of Tokyo Inns, who purchased the entire lot for €5.5 million. “I believe the family are retaining the mansion on 60 acres, and the remainder will become a golf club,” says O’Sullivan.

Now retired, O’Sullivan, a native Kerryman, is spending more time tending his farm “in the wilds of Cahersiveen”. He will miss the “tranquillity and peacefulness of the gardens” where he held his wedding reception in 1991. Home to apple, pear, plum, quince and “the best fig tree in Ireland” the private grounds – though now quite bare in early spring – are one of its real selling points. “There are artichokes growing wild here since before I arrived and they are spectacular at the end of their season,” says O’Sullivan.

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about property, fine arts, antiques and collectables