Lively, relaxed home with quirky features amid Dún Laoghaire formality for €1.595m

Set back from Tivoli Road, this three-bed Victorian has been restored with care

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Address: 4 Carlisle Terrace, Tivoli Road, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin
Price: €1,595,000
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald
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When the owners had their first viewing of 4 Carlisle Terrace, about 12 years ago, they say they “ran away from it”. Like many period houses around that part of Dún Laoghaire – on land once owned by Lord Longford and Viscount de Vesci – number 4 had been subdivided into flats and bedsits over the years. However, the owners soon realised that the house’s true character was there all along; it was just well-concealed beneath an accumulation of paint, woodchip, veneer and carpeting. Passionate about conservation and authenticity, they set themselves the task of renovating and modernising, bringing back all the period features such as cornicing, ceiling roses and picture rails, and putting in a modern kitchen/utility/living area downstairs.

Walk into the elegant hallway of number 4 Carlisle Terrace, with its stained glass panelling and decorative arch, and you’ll think the house hasn’t changed at all since it was built some time in the mid-19th century. This is a tribute to the care taken by the owners to bring out its old-world charm while still making it feel fresh and timeless. So, while at first glance number 4 may seem rather formal, with antique furnishings and grand old paintings, it’s soon apparent that this is a lively, relaxed home, brimming with personality, and with just the right mix of traditional and modern.

Carlisle Terrace is a row of Victorian houses facing Tivoli Road in Dún Laoghaire; the road is a main artery between Monkstown and Glasthule, but the house is set neatly back at the end of a lovely, well-manicured front garden away from noise. The owners have resisted turning the front garden into a driveway as others on the terrace have done, but the option is there for new owners – subject to planning permission.

The living room features original oak floors and original Carrara marble fireplace; on each side of the fireplace are original porcelain servants’ bells. Alas, pulling them won’t summon Mr Carson with a tray of aperitifs, but they are nice, quirky touches in a house filled with nice, quirky touches.


The dining room overlooks the rear garden and is made for entertaining – you can practically hear the sparkling conversation around the table. The original sash windows have shutters that still work, and on one pane you can see a piece of history – the names of previous occupants neatly etched into the glass. What stories could they tell?

On the return down to garden level is another quirk – a serving-room, where food and drink would be brought up from downstairs ready to be presented to the guests upstairs. This is now a handy kitchenette, where the owners would find a lot of their guests at parties, but it would also make an excellent office.

The kitchen downstairs is modern and well-equipped, but still has a lovely old-fashioned feel, with decorative quartz countertops and tabletop, a Belling stove and a Belfast sink. There’s a handy utility room with lots of storage space, and a guest toilet. Adjoining the kitchen is a large livingroom/family room with bright-tiled floors, half-panelled walls and a feature cast-iron fireplace. A lobby leads out to the front garden, while double doors in the kitchen lead out to the wonderful, biodiverse back garden, with a gravelled dining area that also acts as an effective sun trap, and a pathway leading out to a shed and a shared grassy laneway that provides pedestrian access to the rear.

What is most striking as you look out the back, however, is an expanse of trees as far as the eye can see, with a view of the Dublin mountains beyond. That’s because the rear view is aligned along the back gardens of the adjacent Royal Terrace, adding a seemingly endless green aspect. With no traffic sounds from Tivoli Road reaching here, you could be in an idyllic country setting.

The family bathroom is on the first-floor return, Upstairs are three fine big bedrooms, but because the house is not one of the larger Victorians, you don’t feel you have to write a letter in order to connect with people in the other rooms. The third bedroom is used as an office/dressing room, and looks out to the front, with views out to St Michael’s Church in Dún Laoghaire and across Dublin Bay.

Another quirky feature is a “stairs to nowhere” on the top floor leading up to a half-landing that can be used for storage.

Number 4 Carlisle Terrace, which extends to 235sq m (2,530sq ft) and is Ber exempt, is for sale through Sherry FitzGerald with an asking price of €1.595 million.

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney is an Irish Times journalist