Pitcairn, 13 Shrewsbury Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
Pitcairn was one of the newer redbrick houses to have been built on Shrewsbury Road. While most were built at the turn of the 20th century, Pitcairn was certainly not built by 1910 and was likely built some time between then and 1920. The home is clearly more modern in appearance than its grander Edwardian neighbours.
The home was likely commissioned by the Cairns, whose family name is clearly incorporated in the home’s name, however it may have been owned by another family under the same name prior to this as there are reports that the home sold in the 1920s for a mere IR£3,500 (€4,450). The Cairns certainly lived in the house from the 1920s onwards. Mr Albert Edward Cairns, whose father hailed from Balina, was the head of the household until his death in 1944. Later, in 1957, Helen Cairns passed away. The house, however, was not sold by the Cairns at this time as Albert’s children continued to reside in the home for decades to come. It was not until the death of Helen Moira Cairns, Albert and Helen’s daughter, in 1996 that the house finally came on the market for the first time. Prior to the sale of the house, auctioneers Hamilton Osborne King auctioned off the Cairns family’s posessions.
The house came to the market in rather original condition, remaining relatively untouched and in need of total refurbishment. Two weeks before the house came on the market, Derrymore, an immensely attractive semi-detached house across the street on 0.41 acres, was sold privately for IR£800,000 (€1.02m) to financier Derek Quinlan. Pitcairn, in contrast, was a different proposition – a detached house with sprawling grounds.
While the house was expected to achieve IR£750,000, that price was blown out of the water when businessman Des McEvaddy paid IR£1.55 million (€1.97m) for the house at auction. At this time the house extended to almost 4,000sqft. This price was a record sale, especially considering the home required approximately IR£250,000 worth of renovations. McEvaddy removed a shallow front porch, which may not have been original. The house was originally double-fronted, however an additional bay was added by McEvaddy to the southern side of the house along with a single-storey kitchen extension to the rear. These extensions were built with red brick to blend with the existing structure. New bay windows were added to the front, rear and side of the house by McEvaddy, which undoubtedly render the house significantly brighter.
As far as Shrewsbury Road homes go, Pitcairn is one of the most understated. It enjoys an unrivalled level of privacy, with one of the highest boundary walls on the street and opaque entrance gates, ensuring no onlookers can see into the grounds.