Lir Chocolates founder’s architect-designed Dundrum home up for sale for €1.495m

Rather than downsize, the late Connie Doody engaged an architect to create a bright, modern house on the site of her original family home in Dublin 14

This article is 4 months old
Address: 17 Silver Birches, Dundrum, Dublin 14
Price: €1,495,000
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald
View this property on MyHome.ie

Ireland’s own Willy Wonka, Lir Chocolates co-founder Connie Doody, was 70 when she decided to downsize from the dormer bungalow in which she and her family had lived for more than three decades. But Doody, who died in August, didn’t want a granny flat and wanted to be able to have her grandchildren stay.

In the end, she divided the site of her original home and on it built her new home, a detached 280sq m (3,013sq ft) five-bed in Dundrum, in 2017. Her daughter Claire, who lives next door in a matching house, says her late mother knew what she wanted and the warm, bright modern house is “very much her style”. It’s also about a 10-minute walk from Dundrum Town Centre around the corner and near the Luas.

Doody, a pioneering businesswoman, set up Lir with former Fianna Fáil senator Mary White in 1985 after joining a Dundrum community development group encouraging businesses that would provide employment. Claire was 10 and remembers the early days when her mother — who had made truffles for Claire’s First Holy Communion — was creating chocolates in the kitchen. The company was very successful, moved to an IDA centre in East Wall and eventually to Navan, where it employs 250 people. The firm was bought by a UK group in 2007 and later by a German company, but Doody continued to work with Lir two days a week until 2020. “For the last 10 years, she worked only in new product development, that was her sweet spot.”

Tom O’Loughlin of O’Loughlin Architects designed the house, 17 Silver Birches, which is now for sale through Sherry FitzGerald for €1.495 million. It’s a bright, warm house with an A3 Ber: it has triple-glazed Rationel windows throughout, underfloor heating on the first and second floors, solar panels and a mechanical heat recovery ventilation system. The upstairs floors are concrete, making the house soundproof.

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The front door opens into a triple-height hall floored with black and white tiles, dominated by a striking glass-panelled staircase with mahogany bannisters made by Connolly Stairs. The layout of the ground floor is simple, with a cosy sitting room on the left of the hall that connects to the dining room/family room/kitchen behind it and a room set out as a double bedroom on the right. Her mother was practical, says Claire, and wanted both a downstairs bedroom and the bathroom next to it off the hall with a large step-in shower to future-proof her home. The downstairs bedroom in Claire’s house is a playroom.

The large open plan kitchen/dining room/family room at the back of the house is, like the rest of downstairs, floored with large pale grey tiles, in keeping with the generally neutral interiors of the house. The dining area and family room are partly divided by a chimney breast with a glass-enclosed gas fire. A modest-sized patio wraps around two sides of the back of the house, with a number of glazed double doors opening on to it. There’s also a floor-to-ceiling window in the family room, which has a high vaulted ceiling. A sliding door opens from the dining area into the sitting room at the front.

The kitchen has an island unit and countertops topped with pale polished granite, integrated units and a good-sized utility room off it.

Upstairs, there are four double bedrooms — one used as a study — off a large landing made bright by floor-to-ceiling windows. The main bedroom has windows at the front and back, and a large en suite with a shower. There’s a bath in the family bathroom.

The staircase continues up to the attic, where another bright, good-sized landing could be another work-from-home space. A room on the right, set out as a bedroom, has two Velux windows; across the landing is another bathroom with a tiled floor.

There’s a concrete shed in the patio garden at the rear, which is bordered by raised flowerbeds. There’s room to park a number of cars in the pebbled front garden. Silver Birches is a small cul-de-sac a short distance from Dundrum Town Centre.

Frances O'Rourke

Frances O'Rourke

Frances O'Rourke, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about homes and property