The Dublin Docklands Cottage where Adam and Eve from Cork found a patch of Eden

31 St Brigid’s Avenue, North Strand, Dublin 3. Asking Price: €440,000 Broker: Gallagher Quigley (01) 8183000

The new “time capsule” segment added to the 2022 census form allowed us to leave random messages for our descendants 100 years in the future.

It must have sparked some seriously interesting budget talks on census night last Sunday week.

But probably none surpassed the nighttime calls of the 1911 census at 31 St. Brigid’s Avenue, North Strand, Dublin 3.

Maybe they went a bit like this:

Denis: “You know what Liz? I’m sitting here putting my age on this form, and I think it’s high time I made a confession to you. And it’s that — I actually lied to you when we were courting about how old I was. Well, I’m not actually 55. I’m 60. But you never guessed it, haha! I must have always looked a lot younger!”

Liz: “My god Denis! How could you do such a thing? Speaking of which, I have one for you too, Mr. Pants on Fire. I’m not 51 at all, I’m actually 54.”

Denis: “My god Liz! How did you manage to hide that? Surely your sister would have known all along how old you are?”

Liz: “Yeah, she did. But she’s not 56 like you think, she’s 61.”


The entrance hall and staircase

In the early 1900s, the Irish lied a lot about their age. It was a time when being younger was crucial to finding a spouse and securing a spouse was vital to economic security.

It was very common for women to spare five years in favor of evaluating an applicant. But men did it too. And sometimes a couple both cheated and had to keep the lie alive for the rest of their lives.

Today it sometimes crops up at the death of an elderly relative when documentation reveals that they were in fact older than they wanted to admit.

The deduction of two to five years was the typical Irish age limit.


A two-story extension was added to the rear

Before old-age pensions and social assistance, a woman feared a widowhood of hardship and therefore wished for a man who would live and earn as long as possible.

Conversely, the man wanted a woman who would bear him children for many years. The more children, the better the chance of being cared for in old age. So being younger was important.

In the 1901 census we find Steward Denis Ring (who gives his age as 45) with his wife Elizabeth (who says she is 41) and sister Maria Kelsey (she is 46 years old) at No31. Both are seamstresses.

The Ring’s daughter, Elizabeth, the sole survivor of her three children, is an elementary school teacher at the tender age of 15 and also lives here.

But a decade later, in 1911, it seems they all “pitched themselves against each other.” Denis is now 60 (not 55), his wife Elizabeth 54 (not 51) and sister-in-law Maria 61 (not 56).

Only young Elizabeth, as expected, has aged 10 years. They had probably reached a point in their lives together where hiding their real ages didn’t matter anymore.

Cork-born couple Adam O’Keefe and his wife Eve Bolster are the current owners of No31. They could never lie to each other about their age because they were in the same class in secondary school.


Adam O’Keefe and Eve Bolster bought the house in 2019

They lost touch when they both went to university, one in Dublin, the other in Galway. They both ended up living in Dublin, where they unknowingly met at a Halloween party a decade later.

He was dressed as Tintin and she was a full makeup zombie. So they talked for some time before actually realizing who they were.
They have been inseparable ever since, getting married and renting in Harold’s Cross and Rialto before deciding to buy a home in 2019.

“When we saw #31, with its high ceilings and beautiful large windows, it reminded us of the lovely, bright cottage we used to live in in Rialto, so that’s what we chose,” says Eve.

The old building had already been renovated. There are now two floors at the rear, a large refurbished modern kitchen, two decent sized bedrooms and a bright main reception area overlooking the street.

There is also a decent garden with a large garden room at the end.

The old Docker enclave of North Strand proved an unlikely Eden for Cork’s Adam and Eve, who had never lived so centrally in the capital. The couple recently welcomed baby Harriet into the world and they have two Red Setters.

That the house has a garden and is a short walk from the town center as well as St Anne’s Park and a short drive to North Bull Island and Dollymount (for the dogs) was a big draw. But the Covid lockdown brought out the best in this house and the area for her.

“The big room at the end of the garden was a great home office for me,” says Adam. “And you couldn’t go out into the street without having a chat, the neighbors are so friendly.”

The house is also close to busy fine pubs (Gaffneys and The Annesley) and great restaurants (Okayu across the street and Da Mimmo’s nearby).

“We are both self-employed and the lockdown also gave us a test run for remote work. It showed us that we can work from home, but home can be anywhere,” says Adam.

And so Adam and Eve (and Harriet) have decided to move to Dingle where they will both be closer to extended families.

No31 is now for sale by Gallagher Quigley for €440,000.

And that’s not a lie. The Dublin Docklands Cottage where Adam and Eve from Cork found a patch of Eden

Fry Electronics Team

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