During the late 1700s, Blackrock was Dublin’s Riviera and the unofficial seat of British rule in Ireland, where plots were formed to exert a tighter grip on the country by the British.
Large estates were built on the Blackrock seafront and the summer set would visit their hosts’ expansive gardens and homes for opulent evenings with plenty of drinking and dining. During the daytime, high society would take in boating, fishing and bathing.
When the train line was built to run through Blackrock in 1834, it had the effect of separating the vast summer gardens from the sea and allowed the hoi polloi from the city centre to emulate the new Queen Victoria’s penchant for seaside sojourns.
The location of the rail line also meant the pool of seawater closed in on the landside space was turning into rancid marshland. So it was decided in 1873 to fill in that marshland and create a park for locals to enjoy.
From the end of the 19th century, more wealthy Dublin denizens began settling in Blackrock, attracted by its parklands and the proximity to the sea. Add in some salubrious schools and it’s no surprise that demand for homes in the one-time fishing village has since remained high.
The latest development to cater to these well-heeled buyers is Fortwilliam, an exclusive gated scheme of just four semi-detached homes. It’s being developed on the site of the demolished Fortwilliam Cottage.
The 1,291 sq ft two-bed cottage had lain derelict for years, but was on a prime location near Mount Merrion Avenue on the Stillorgan Road, where it had 13m of direct frontage. Back in 2007, Fortwilliam Cottage exchanged hands for €2.7m at auction and is listed in the Property Price Register as having resold for just €835,000 during the recession. By 2017, it had sold again, this time for €1.45m, according to the PPR.
EWR Investments purchased the 0.3-acre rectangular site with full planning permission for four homes with a mid-century influence that were designed by Todd Architects.
The scheme is accessed from the Stillorgan Road – the main arterial route to Dublin City centre from the south – and is bounded to the north by the Fortwilliam red-brick-fronted apartment complex that was built in the late 1970s.
The showhouse at Fortwilliam was initially poised to open for viewings in Spring 2020, but because of restrictions on construction during the Covid-19 lockdown, the showhouse opening was postponed until next month.
Prices for the properties, which each have their own unique layout and style, will start at €1.15m. The homes range in size from 2,304 sq ft to 2,573 sq ft and are laid out over different heights: No1 and No2 Fortwilliam are set over two storeys, while No3 and No4 extend over three floors. No1 Fortwilliam has an enclosed terraced garden on its first floor, while its neighbour has a courtyard garden to its ground floor. There are rear gardens to No3 and No4 Fortwilliam.
The facades of the homes are finished in a combination of zinc, render and stone. The large windows and doors from Rationel are triple-glazed and have timber alu-clad frames, and there is a hardwood front door with a glazed panel to one side. Out front, there is parking for two cars on a paved driveway.
Inside, the Strada kitchen with a matt finish in a grey-blue colour and Carrera marble worktops, all supplied by Maplewood Interiors, are included. The kitchen also comes with soft-close doors and drawers, LED strip lighting and integrated appliances such as an oven, a microwave, a ceramic gas hob, a fridge-freezer and an extractor hood. The utility room will be fitted with units that match the kitchens, as well as a stainless-steel sink with a mixer tap and a service space for a washing machine and tumble dryer.
Maplewood Interiors is also supplying the bedroom wardrobes. The master ensuite comes with a large walk-in wardrobe and an ensuite fitted with both a bath and a shower.
The bathrooms and ensuites are fitted with Duravit sanitaryware, vanity units with gloss doors and quartz reflection surfaces, LED lighting, and tiling to the floors and walls.