Take me to church in Glasthule: Two religious buildings ripe for conversion

St Joseph's Parochial House and Presbytery can be bought together for €3million, or as single entities. The money raised from their sale fund the ongoing refurbishment of the church next door

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Address: St Joseph's Parochial House and Presbytery Glasthule
Price: €1,395,000
Agent: Savills

St Joseph's Church in Glasthule, built in French gothic-revival style, was designed by ecclesiastical architects Pugin and Ashlin in 1869. The church never got its intended spire, which is possibly a blessing in disguise for the St Laurence O'Toole Trust – the body which holds the Catholic Church's property in the Dublin Archdiocese.

"We have spent almost €1 million on the church so far and it needs a lot more work," says Fr Billy Farrell, parish priest of the diocese for the past eight years. "You cannot even see the works so far; the turret was shifting due to the salt air, we also had to replace part of the roof, and the metal detail along the roofline was a very costly job," he adds.

To meet the growing debts of restoration, the trust has placed two adjacent buildings, which were built a few years after the church, on the market through estate agent Savills.

The semi-detached properties are the parochial house – home for almost 150 years to the parish priest, and current home to Fr Farrell, and the presbytery where curates once resided.


The parochial house, which lies closest to the church had a simple refurbishment when Fr Farrell arrived: “We spent €50,000 to make it liveable – with new carpets, paint and a kitchen.” The presbytery next door has not been lived in for a long period and was divided into separate living areas, which could easily be reinstated to a fine house.

Filled with light

Despite the sombre cut-granite exteriors, interiors are filled with light thanks to high dome-shaped windows, which have excellent sea views from the upper floors. Hallways are exceptionally wide, and the layout offers great potential to convert these two properties into fine family homes. Conversion to apartments could be trickier when floorplans are taken into account.

The buildings – both of which are protected structures – retain features from their architectural era, and a good conservation architect could work wonders as the bone structure is there.

Of particular interest is the small room on the upper level of the parochial house, with its vaulted ceiling and gothic granite windows; and the old hearth in the basement.

The grounds extend to 0.64 of an acre in total, and the church will retain a narrow pedestrian right of way to allow access to the boiler room under the church itself.

Both houses which extend to 297sq m each, can be purchased separately or as a single entity. The parochial house is seeking €1.595 million and the presbytery is asking €1.395 million, or both for €3 million.

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle

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