‘No regrets’ in buying Celtic Tiger penthouse off the plans

610 Longboat Quay South, Hanover Quay, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin 2

Asking price: €695,000 Agent: Owen Reilly (01) 677 7100

When Derek Allen was dreaming of living in a ‘proper’ penthouse, there weren’t too many properties about in Dublin that fit the bill.

There were plenty of poky new top-floor two-beds with short balconies but the capital was lacking in the types of super prime top-floor apartments readily available in other European cities — with much larger floor spaces, water views, proper outdoor terraces and landmark restaurants and amenities on its doorstep.

But at the height of the Celtic Tiger, as development at Dublin’s docklands ratcheted up a gear, plans were unveiled for Longboat Quay right in front of Grand Canal Dock. The area was also set for a landmark upmarket hotel and the Bord Gáis Theatre by internationally acclaimed architect Kevin Roche.


Derek Allen in his penthouse apartment. Photo by Bryan Meade

“I heard about this incredible plan to build apartments in the Dublin docklands in 2008. There was nothing in the area at the time. When I saw the plans, I fell in love immediately with the penthouse. I just had to have it.

Allen put his name down for the three- bed penthouse, buying it off the plans before it was even built. It wasn’t an easy purchase for him. “There was a lot of borrowing, begging, and stealing involved. But for me, buying a penthouse in Dublin City centre was the most exciting thing I’d ever done. Because the apartment had yet to be built, he was able to discuss the layout with the builders and the architect and request changes, before he moved in in 2009.

As a result, the kitchen/living area is open plan. The kitchen has hand-painted cream-coloured units with intricate blue and cream tiles on the splash. The room fits a round table and chairs and has a large smoked glass spherical light hanging over the kitchen table.


A view of the Liffey from the balcony

He’s had numerous design consultants give advice about the interior over the years in an attempt to give it what he calls a ‘London feel’. The airy living area now has a comfortable couch and a low wooden coffee table. There’s a large round mirror on the wall above the couch, which gives it a fittingly nautical touch, and sliding glass doors open to a south-facing balcony here.

He changed the tiles in the main bathroom to fired earth and beige. In addition, he installed underfloor heating. The floors are wood throughout and the ceilings are high in all of the rooms and feature subtle coving.


The kitchen at 610 Longboat Quay South

There are two good sized double bedrooms, one with an ensuite bathroom which opens onto the south balcony. The third bedroom he uses as a home office, and this has access to the north balcony and can be reached from the hallway.

So, one huge property crash and 14 years on, has he any regrets?

“I’ve no regrets whatsoever. It was worth every penny,” he says adding that the penthouse at 610 Longboat Quay South is in fact a ‘lifestyle’ which he has loved through all those years.

“It’s probably one of the most beautiful penthouses in Dublin,” he says. “One glass of champagne on the balcony here and you think you’re in a luxury hotel.”
It’s not just the top floor vantage seven levels up, but its location in one of Dublin’s coolest spaces that does it for Allen. It directly overlooks the Grand Canal Dock and contemporary landmarks.


Views of Dublin from the Marker Hotel’s rooftop bar

“I regularly get the lift down and go next door to the Marker Hotel for rooftop drinks,” says Derek. “At the weekend, I roll into the Herbstreet restaurant (famous for its brunch), to have eggs Benedict and meet friends. If I need a pedicure there’s a beautician on the ground floor of the building, and the H Bar is just a few doors down. It does the best negroni in Dublin!”

It is dual aspect also offers both south and north facing terraces.

On the south balcony, there’s a table and chairs and olive trees which Derek had imported from Tuscany. “When I’m at home, I like to sit on the balcony beside my olive trees and have a macchiato whilst watching the swans below in Grand Canal Dock,” he says.

“Someone said to me at the time, ‘People don’t buy property for the view’, but I disagree. This is one of the most stunning views in Dublin and it makes a massive difference when you’re living here.” It looks directly onto the water of Grand Canal Dock, and you can see the Dublin Mountains in the distance.


The penthouse living space on Longboat Quay South

“You’ve got the red poles that are lit up at night, the glistening water below, reflecting the light of the moon and the Gallery Quay restaurant below with its fairy lights. Even though I’m living in a city, I feel like I can breathe whilst looking at this view.”

The apartment comes with a parking space and the area is managed by The Long Boat Quay Management for a fee of €1,752 per year. Like most Tiger-era apartment blocks, this one had problems which have since been rectified. “They’ve made the building fireproof and installed a new roof recently,” explains Derek.

Allen also emphasises the sense of community in the area. In the summer, his neighbours often congregate on the communal rooftop garden. “There’s a complete mixture of people living here, and most are owner-occupiers,” he says. “Everybody is really friendly and knows each other.

Having recently started his own tour guide business, Derek finds he’s away for long periods of time and is not using the apartment as much as he’d like. In addition, he’s planning to move in with his partner and as result is selling up.

“Moving is not going to be easy because the penthouse is one of a kind and I don’t think I’m ever going to find a home like it again,” he says. “But love is calling me and it’s time to let it go!”

Owen Reilly seeks €695,000.


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