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After a 22 year spell in leafy Burlington Road B&A moved, with some trepidation, to Milltown House, in 2007. Located three miles south of Dublin city centre, we now have the river Dodder to our South and the green Luas (tram) line to our north.
We quickly acclimatised to our ‘new’ home, one of the oldest built structures outside of the city centre. It was constructed around 1730 and shares many features with Malahide’s Newbridge House (on Dublin’s north side) which was built simultaneously.
The building is 12,000 square feet and comfortably houses almost 70 of us when our CATI unit is in action.
Its interior is protected (because of its architectural significance) and the hall, boardroom and overhead office ceilings have plasterwork of an unparalleled standard. The back staircase has been described as having exceptional carpentry, unique to its period.
Originally a private house it served as a convent till 20 years ago, home to the Irish Sister’s of Charity nuns since the 1880s and prior to that for a period (at the time of the 1837 census) as home “to the Misses Hunt”, and “a dissenting place of worship for Irish Independents”. It was partially “victorianised”, with a tiled entry floor being overlayed on the original stone flagging, by the architect/builder HJ Byrne who constructed and designed the adjoining Church and Bell tower, as well as nearby Ranelagh’s Beechwood Avenue Church.
We are still frequently visited by former students of the now-closed St Anne’s girl’s school, which was located down Milltown Hill and run by the departed, but fondly remembered, nuns. Maps from the time of its building show it was accessed via so-called “Coldblow Lane”, such was the likelihood of mugging and ambush as one traveled from Donnybrook. The closest neighbours were then in Clonskeagh Castle; their descendant Andrew Jackson became the 7th President of America.
The building was extensively restored in the late 1990s with lengthy cleaning and repairs to the plasterwork by craftsmen supervised by An Taisce, the body which aims to preserve Irish built heritage. The floor that houses our attic phone unit was added as well as a lift and modern plumbing. The workmen at that time suspected it was haunted and felt a “benign but unexplained presence”, of origin unknown.
It is a splendid environment in which to work and we feel privileged and lucky to have found so fine a new home for the company. We are happy to share it with our clients and spirits of and from the past, although the latter tend to keep a reassuringly lower profile these days.
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