B&B with some of the best views on the north Dublin waterfront goes on the market for €950,00006/24/2019
Question: Where do those who book a Clontarf B&B for their annual summer holidays come from? Answer: Mostly they come from Clontarf. We’re talking about D3 natives who have headed off from these shores to work in Australia, the USA, Canada and so on. So when their summer hols come around, they head back to the seaside at Clontarf and book themselves in to be near their friends and their families.
Old fashioned sea front B&Bs are a fading phenomenon around Dublin’s coastline. Where once their sign boards bristled all along the seafronts in suburbs like Dun Laoghaire, Sandycove and Skerries, to cater for the remnants of olde worlde ‘kiss me quick’ Irish seaside holiday vacationers, now there is Airbnb for business visitors and tourists from abroad. No signs, no welcoming hall lights, no hearty fry up breakfasts, no fussy front room for enjoying tea and cakes.
Back in 1987, John Devlin had just been laid off from his job at the then landmark Semperit Tyre factory in Ballyfermot. He and his Coventry born wife Delia has just committed to buying her dream house on the waterfront in Clontarf.
“It was pretty run down,” recalls John. “There had been an elderly lady living there and she wasn’t able for it. The gutters were down and lying in the back garden and the place had damp in it. But we both thought it was a nice house.
“Delia had and I had always wanted to live beside the sea. We were in Lucan at the time and we just decided to go for it. But the house was quite a big one and the mortgage was also a big one too! And it needed all that work: rewiring and heating and new windows and such. When I lost my job we were worried about what we were going to do and beginning to think we’d made a big mistake. So we said, ‘lets invest the severance money in it and turn it into a B&B!’ So we did.”
Even then seaside B&Bs were fading as most Irish holiday makers were already turning to sun holidays abroad thanks to the arrival of cheaper travel. But to the Devlins delight, their Clontarf B&B at 301 Clontarf Road took off and they never looked back.
“We started out with four rooms, taking eight or nine guests per night. Word of mouth spread and it took off. We were most busy at St Patrick’s weekend. I’d get up around 5.30am to prepare the breakfast tables and then Delia would get up at 6.30am to start making the breakfasts.
“She did the cooking and the organising and I did the hauling stuff around and the hoovering and that sort of thing. We had a lot of regulars who lived abroad and came home to see their families on their holidays. They came back to us again and again. We had a lot of regulars.”
John says they’ve had people from all over the world stay over. “I have to say we really enjoyed it.” The couple’s favourite guests were the Italians and the Germans. “They’re great travellers, always up early and ready to go out to visit somewhere.” On the other hand he describes the English (more likely to be here for a stag) as being “a good bit noisier”.
Then tragically last March during St Patrick’s weekend, Delia suddenly fell ill and she passed away. “The sad thing is that we’d planned to retire after this year,” says John, who is understandably devastated by her loss.
Now John has placed 301 Clontarf Road on the market for someone else to take on. In their wake, the Devlins are leaving behind a very homely and traditionally restored Edwardian house, which not surprisingly, has all the features you’d expect in a seafront B&B.
The Edwardian house is painted in a fresh seaside B&B pastel mint green. The accommodation spans 2,099 sq ft and there are four large bedrooms, high ceilings and a stained glass panelled timber front door. The front rooms look directly on to the promenade and the sea and to Bull Island with some of the best views on the North Dublin waterfront.
There’s also front forecourt parking on brick cobblelock for three to four vehicles. The house has gas-fired central heating and double glazing but the best aspects are those elegant original Edwardian features like the ornate marble and cast iron surround fireplaces. The entrance hall has its original polished timber floor with a centre rose and ceiling coving.
The formal dining room and the living room both have their original timber floors and their marble chimney pieces. There’s a downstairs WC and a substantial kitchen/breakfastroom with wall and floor units, a quartz countertop, twin Belfast sinks and at its centre, the electric Aga Range. There’s a utility room off the kitchen.
On the first floor return the master bedroom comes with an ensuite bathroom and a cast iron chimney piece. This floor also includes the main bathroom. The first floor has two ensuite bedrooms, a fourth bedroom and there’s an attic room on the top floor with an ensuite.
Out back, the garden is 37 feet long with a substantial sandstone flag patio and a storage shed. Aside from the popular walk along the promenade out front, both Dollymount Strand and Bull Island are within walking distance. The area is popular in the summer months with wind surfers and kite surfers and the island has a colourful annual kite flying festival.
Clontarf is within a short taxi hop of Dublin’s city centre with its restaurants, pubs and tourist attractions.
These days the property would be perfect for those seeking to provide a new style boutique B&B. John says: “It’s a perfect house for a B&B, as myself and Delia discovered. We had many happy years here. But I think what I’d really like is to see it bought as a family house and have some children living here.”
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