Victorian home with enchanting gardens on Novara Avenue for €1.45 million

Property once owned by writer Kathleen Goodfellow offers original period details and views of the sea

This article is 6 months old
Address: Wentworth House Novara Avenue Bray Co Wicklow
Price: €1,450,000
Agent: DNG
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In 1979 when Irish writer, poet and translator Kathleen Goodfellow donated half a hectare of land at the corner of Morehampton Road and Wellington Place to An Taisce, it was on the premise that the site would be preserved and maintained as a green space. Known as The Grove, it can never be built on and is one of the few examples of woodland in the environs of Dublin city. A sanctuary for birds, it supports a wealth of wildlife including bats, sparrow hawks, frogs and foxes, and the vision for it, says An Taisce, was that “it will be a safe haven for wildlife and a space where children and adults can learn about nature”.

Goodfellow, who wrote under the pseudonym Michael Scot for her patriotic writings, was an independently wealthy woman and owned a number of houses on Morehampton Road that her father had constructed. She also owned a number of houses on Novara Avenue in Bray, where she, like many at the time, took to spending summer months away from the city smog in favour of the salty air and clear waters of the seaside Wicklow town.

One of the houses owned by Goodfellow on Novara Avenue was Wentworth House: a handsome Victorian pile extending to 257sq m (2,766sq ft) with a private garden. Much like The Grove on Morehampton Road, the garden has been developed as an oasis for birds and pollinators in a series of cottage garden spaces that lie about the generous 0.10-hectare (0.25-acre) site. The family originally engaged Frances and Iain MacDonald of The Bay Garden in Camolin to start the path to what the garden is today: sections of woodland, vegetable and fruit gardens – which the owners really took to during lockdowns – and pockets of spaces for summer dining, not to mention its enchanting spaces for children to play hide and seek. It has damson, quince, Victoria plum – in bloom – and mature apple trees along with a constant supply of veg for family suppers. Specimen plantings of acers are complemented by white clouds of Annabelle hydrangea against colour from lavender and catmint in a lovely informal layout. But it’s the old walls and little gates that lead along meandering pathways to hidden pockets that really make the southwest-facing garden quite special. Unfortunately, none of the photographs quite capture its magic.

It’s been home to the same family for the past 35 years who have invested their time, money and love into the home. They are now downsizing locally due to an empty nest.


Over the years they have re-plumbed, re-wired, re-roofed and insulated the house. In 2003, an architect-designed conservatory was added to sit adjacent to the kitchen, which itself is on its third reincarnation in three decades and has Miele and Bosch appliances. The conservatory was further upgraded in 2021 when it was re-roofed, insulated and glazing was upgraded, and its position has created a lovely little courtyard between it and the house.

It has the usual layout for a Victorian home whereby at hall level are two reception rooms – with original period details – that lead to the kitchen and the new sunroom/conservatory.

But where it differs from many of its Dublin Victorian peers is the elegant drawingroom on the first floor – or the piano Nobile as it would have been called – which is the favourite room of the vendors. With high ceilings and period details it has lovely views of Sidmonton Square, Bray Head and the sea – especially now that local deciduous trees are bare. Another unexpected gem is the terrace off this room which highlight the views.

There are four fine double bedrooms upstairs and a fifth single room, now used as a home office, lies next to the family bathroom, which was refurbished in 2022.

It’s a lovely home and while new owners may want to make some cosmetic changes, it has been renovated and well kept over the years. But its southwest-facing garden extending to 125ft in length may well clinch the deal for house-hunters looking for a lovely period home with an enchanting space for both gardeners and children alike. With a Ber of D2, the property is now on the market through DNG, seeking €1.45 million.

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle

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