The first person to live at 21 Erne Street Upper, which connects Pearse Street and Lower Grand Canal Street in Dublin 2, was a coal merchant. This, according to current owner, town planner and historian Anthony Abbott King, shows how, after the construction of the Dublin and Kingstown Railway in 1834, some less posh parts of the city opened up to the middle classes. With more affordable plots, builders went wide and shallow rather than tall and narrow to create double-fronted house terraces which, in the case of this section of Erne Street, were one room deep.
Built before 1847 and shown on the Ordnance Survey map of that date, Number 21 has been owned by the Abbot King family since 1992 and, having lived there occasionally and rented it out for the past two years, Anthony undertook some restoration work, in 2011 and 2019, which makes the most of its Georgian features while bringing it up to date. The rather low BER of E1, he says, is due to the fact that he opened up some chimneys and kept the single-glazed, six-over-six sash windows, and the unalterable expanse of the exterior walls.
The 120 square meter (1,292 square foot) home is presented in thoughtful and gracious order, with calm luxury in the thoughtful decor, carefully chosen furnishings, simple lines of the kitchen and two bathrooms, and the heavy linen curtains by Sally Armstrong. To the left of the hallway is the kitchen with a Smeg smart cooker, built-in appliances, off-white under-counter units and shelving above. The original shutters line the window and Abbott King admits to having “vandalized” them by cutting them halfway to form a kind of half door for passers-by privacy. Even in this modern space there’s room for antiques, with a Dublin Arts and Crafts armoire, decorated with animal paintings and inlaid tiles, fitting perfectly into a recess.
On the other side of the hall is a cozy living room with wooden floors, also facing the street, with a stove in the fireplace. Upstairs, two double bedrooms (one currently used as a sitting room) reflect this plan, with the added benefit of being dual aspect and bathed in morning and evening sun.
The two stone-floored bathrooms are superimposed in the return that Abbot King says a builder added when he bought part of the terrace in the 1980s. The central staircase leads down to the two double bedrooms lower ones, one of which faces the street and the other overlooks the east-facing rear garden.
It is accessed by a few steps next to the bathroom and feels quiet despite being right in the center of town, close to the train tracks and next to the sprawling Savvi credit union building. There is potential here, subject to planning permission, to add a sunny sitting room – although this carries the risk of underutilizing the lovely original rooms. Number 21 Upper Erne Street is for sale via Owen Reilly at an asking price of £850,000.