Openings ~ 29 – – House for sale

“Welcome to my house! Enter freely. Go safely, and leave something of the happiness you bring!” *

No.  This is not my house, It is actually on the market for sale at the moment.

A perfectly ordinary looking house. (I bet that last thought went through your mind.) It is part of a Crescent (c.1792) which, had at that time great views of Dublin Bay. The Crescent was built in a particular arrangement to obstruct the view from Lord Charlemont’s neo-classical summer residence “The Casino” at Marino.

So back to this ordinary looking house.  It is of interest on many levels.  The family now in possession are children of that house, they are disposing of the family home their parents owned and lived in for over eighty years. There had been only two previous owners; The Bolands and The Stokers.              Three owners in total since 1792!

I wanted to take a photo of the front of the house, but since there was a car in the garden and house windows open, I decided to knock and ask for permission.

Well…, you heard me say it before…. My Camera Opens Doors! Not alone was I given permission to take photos of the exterior but invited in and allowed to wander at my own pace and take photos indoors too.  The wonderful young lady and daughter of the household was busy with the vacuum before a ‘viewer’ was due to arrive an hour later.

The young lady had returned to Ireland in the last year and was preparing for the closure and sale of the old family home, not an easy task, so I was careful to protect her privacy.

My new found friend appeared from time to time to make sure I had gone to the top floor or down to the basement….

To the basement kitchen where the Russian Crown Jewels had been hidden  (You need to scroll well down in that link to Time in Ireland). This was during residency of the Boland family.

I wonder where they kept them?

The First residents of 15 Marino Crescent, Clontarf, were Abraham Stoker a civil servant from Dublin, and his wife Charlotte, a charity worker and writer. They had seven children. Abraham and Charlotte were members of the Church of Ireland Parish of Clontarf and attended the parish church with their children, who were baptised there.

The church can be seen to the left in the view from the main bedroom window.

Abraham (Bram) Stoker was the third child, born November 8, 1847.  He was bed-ridden until he started school at the age of seven, when he made a complete recovery. Growing up his mother told him a lot of horror stories which may have influenced his later writings.

In 1864 Stoker entered Trinity College Dublin. While attending college he began working as an Irish civil servant. He also worked part time as a free lance journalist and drama critic. In 1876 he met Henry Irving, a famous actor, and they soon became friends. Not long after that, Stoker met and fell in love with an aspiring actress named Florence Balcombe.  He didn’t travel far to find her. She was a daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel James Balcombe of 1 Marino Crescent.

You can see No. 1 at the end of the row on the right.

We remember him for a different reason, but I saw no signs of Counts, Castles or indeed of DRACULA!

The little park in front of the Crescent is now known as Bram Stoker Park. The year 2012 marks the centenary of the death of Bram Stoker. He died in London on 20 April 1912. Several events are being planned in the year ahead.

The young lady of the house lives in hopes that the Bram Stoker Society, who have shown interest in the house, will find the funds to purchase it, and sympathetically restore it into a Museum.

*Bram Stoker, Chapter 2, Dracula

21 thoughts on “Openings ~ 29 – – House for sale

  1. Nancy

    What an interesting post, GM. I was reading along and when I came to the part about the previous owners and read the name STOKER I knew you had something very important to tell us; and you DID!

    Imagine you wandering around in the very house where DRACULA was dreamed up…

    How I wish I were there with you.

    Now you must travel to the Carpathian Mountains near Transylvania and get “The rest of the story”
    for us……oooooooohhhhhh!!!!!!!

  2. Rummuser

    This is a gem. It is always heart breaking for owners to sell what they think should be national heritage pieces. I have seen that happen here a number of times.

  3. Mike Goad

    Interesting. When I read the name “Abraham Stoker,” I thought, “what an odd coincidence to have a name so close to that of a famous writer… only to find out he was the famous writer. Very cool!

  4. Grannymar Post author

    Nancy – I would need you with me to hold my hand in Transylvania.

    Ramana – I could tell the young lady would love the house to become a museum to Bram Stoker.

    Nelly – It was just that – a lucky opportunity.

    Mike – I thought it would prove interesting to explore and share on the blog.

    Mayo – There was no sign of Dracula!

    speccy – I learned during the process. I also found and photographed fourteen sculptures to research and write about! 😀

    BWT – All I did was ask.

  5. wisewebwoman

    Amazing post GM. The interior of the house puts me in mind of the house in The Dead, my most favourite film of all time.
    And Bram Stoker being born there. Extraordinary!

  6. Grannymar Post author

    Judy – Having the chance to explore indoors, gave me a real feel for the place.

    WWW – The young lady almost apologised for the state of the house, but modern refurbishment would have ruined it and spoiled the whole effect.

  7. Alice

    What a fun and serendipitous outing this turned into. You didn’t note how much it’s going for…? You must know how much I loved that eye-catching red front door. That’s reason enough to purchase it, but the history and association with Dracula and Bram Stoker would seal the deal for me. IF, that is, I had the money in my pocket. 😐

  8. Grannymar Post author

    Alice – I was out on a ‘sculpture hunt’ with my sister and she asked me if I would like to see where Bram Stoker was born, naturally I jumped at the idea.

    As for asking price…. you would have little change from €700,000.

  9. Clodagh O'Donovan

    Hey, just stumbled across your blog via Eolaí and was surprised to see your photos of 15 The Crescent.

    I’m a grand-niece of Harry Boland, who would have been a regular visitor to that house. His mother Catherine lived there, along with his sister Kathleen.

    The story of the Russian crown jewels is as follows:

    Harry Boland was a special representative of the first Dáil Éireann on a trip to the US. There he met with a Russian government representative to arrange a £20,000 loan from the Irish government. The jewels were offered by the Russians as security for the loan.

    Harry was asked by Michael Collins to hold the jewels and he in turn asked his mother Catherine to hide them for him, which she did. According to my family, the jewels were hidden up the chimney in the kitchen, and remained there undisturbed through many raids and searches by the Black & Tans. After the Civil War and Harry Boland’s assassination, my grandfather, Senator Seán O’Donovan, (who married Kathleen Boland – Harry’s sister) handed the jewels back to the government, and they were reclaimed by the Russian Government, who then paid back the £20,000 loan.

    Later, my own father was born and reared in 15 The Crescent along with his siblings, so it’s an important geographical marker for our family. If I had the money, I’d buy the house myself, but as that’s not possible, I’d be delighted if the Bram Stoker Society would be able to buy and restore the house to its former glory. It would be lovely to have it open to the public for future generations.

    Thanks for your lovely photos.


  10. Grannymar Post author

    Welcome Clodagh to my blog.

    Little did I realise when asking for permission to take a photograph of the exterior of no. 15 the Crescent, the wonderful journey it would lead to. Thank you for sharing your family connection to the story. It makes it all the more important for the house to become a museum for all to enjoy and share. I too, wish I had the money to present it to the Nation.

  11. Grannymar Post author

    Marianna – I have been to Yorkshire a couple of times, but alas I never made it to Whitby Abbey. One day….

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