19 Georgian Village, Castleknock, Dublin 15 Asking Price: €1.8m Broker: Sherry FitzGerald (01) 8201800
Catherine and Charlie Claffey from Dublin have been competing in their own backyard for almost 50 years.
“We watch what each other is doing all the time and we always try to do it better than the other,” laughs Catherine.
Both are passionate gardeners and love nothing more than working on it together. Despite the fact that they are now in their 80s, they have continued to do all the gardening themselves.
The rear garden of their four bedroom detached dormer style home at 19 Georgian Village in Castleknock, which stretches for almost half an acre, serves not only as a space in which they spend their time, but also as their passion and hobby.
“The long back garden is what really drew us to the house,” says Catherine, who bought the property with her husband Charlie 47 years ago. “Every year we added some new plants,” she says. “The garden is a life’s work for both of us.”
The amount of work and care that has gone into the country is evident. A meandering manicured lawn is bordered on either side by carefully selected flower beds, a variety of shrubs and shrubs trimmed into standard topiary shapes. Trees dot the room and there’s a shed where Charlie keeps his tools, which aren’t visible at the end. The property is in a cul-de-sac and the entire area is secluded.
The rear garden is connected to the house by a red sandstone paved terrace with ample space for outdoor furniture. This in turn leads you into a large octagonal conservatory with black and white marble tiles on the floor and a dining table. The couple love to entertain and often do so here.
“In the summer we have drinks on the terrace overlooking the garden and then go to the conservatory for dinner,” says Catherine. “It faces west and is a real sun trap in the late afternoon and evening.”
The conservatory, where the couple can survey the fruits of their gardening during the winter months, is usually around 10 degrees warmer than the outside temperature and thanks to double glazing and two electric radiators can be used for around 10 months a year.
“The conservatory has given us much pleasure over the years. Building it was one of the best things we’ve ever done,” says Catherine.
In addition to adding a conservatory, the couple also converted a garage into a family room and expanded the utility room at the back since buying the house.
No19 has a total of five reception rooms. The front living room centers around an open fireplace with a marble fireplace and attractive terracotta stone tiles on the floor. There is a large rectangular lattice window.
This leads to a formal dining room that houses a heavy wooden table and chairs, perfect for entertaining. An antique mirror on the wall gives a spatial illusion.
The family room, which is practically another living room, opens onto the conservatory. It has a polished wooden floor and a wood stove. A heavy chandelier hangs from the ceiling. Finally, there is a comfortable breakfast/dining room with an attractive window seat overlooking the rear garden.
This is followed by the kitchen which has been modernized in recent years and fitted with cream colored units.
Each room is decorated in a warm but rather grandiose style with lots of wood and heavy furniture. Although Catherine chose most of the style herself, she enlisted the advice of an interior designer.
So inside, the walls are all painted the same color, a kind of beige that Color Trend calls “heritage pastnip.” This allowed her to play with the layout, moving furniture from room to room at different times. “I like to change things up from time to time,” she says.
On the upper floor there are three comfortable double rooms and one single room. All have plenty of storage space.
The sheer size of the house would make it perfect for a family. In fact, Catherine and Charlie raised their six children – five girls and a son, all grown up – there and are now grandparents to nine grandchildren.
“When the kids were small, we needed a lot of space,” explains Catherine. “It’s always been a lively house.” Although one of their daughters still lives with them, they realize they no longer need such a large house and plan to downsize.
“I think a cozy place would suit us better at this stage in our lives,” says Catherine, adding that they love Castleknock and plan to stay in the neighborhood.
“Even after all these years, we’re amazed at how close it is to the city center,” she says.
“We’re right next to Phoenix Park and once you drive through it you’re in town.”
They like the community feel of Castleknock and have many friends in the area. “It’s a great place,” says Catherine.
“We’re both in our 80s, so we’re not that good at gardening anymore,” says Catherine. “That’s one of the main reasons we’re selling the house. Hopefully someone else will appreciate the garden and take care of it.”
Sherry FitzGerald is asking 1.8 million euros for the Claffeys.
https://www.independent.ie/life/home-garden/homes/castleknocks-constant-gardeners-are-hanging-up-their-gloves-a-18m-georgian-on-half-an-acre-of-grounds-in-dublin-15-41409095.html Castleknock’s permanent gardeners are giving up their gloves – a €1.8million ‘Georgian’ on a half-acre property in Dublin 15