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Gate lodges, designed to house a gate porter, date from a time when labour was cheap and big country house owners had an army of staff - from head butler right down (in some cases) to the garden hermit - a pauper hired to live permanently for years in an ornamental garden cave or hermitage.
The latter was dressed in a blanket or fur breeches and often a pointed dunce's cap to act as a sort of living garden gnome.
Dean tells us Summerville Lodge was built in 1870 as a "standard single storey hip-roofed lodge with brick highlights as segmental arches to openings, toothed dressings, keystones and quoins, all picked out in black and white paint" (more recently coloured grey and cream).
Summerville Lodge also reminds us that many long established city suburbs were once in the country - the Dundrum area was brimful of big house country estates many of which operated dairy farms.
For his part, the gate porter was on duty 24/7 and along with opening and closing the gate he vetted and formally greeted visitors, kept a visitor's book, and undertook an outpost security role against intruders or wandering vagrants. But in later years the gate lodge resident along with the lodge itself became nothing but a decorative status symbol, much like the living gnome before him.
Summerville Lodge at Windy Arbour in Dublin 14 is listed among the 216 notable gate lodges of Leinster documented by Kimmitt Dean's 2016 book, The Gate Lodges of Leinster: a gazeteer.
To celebrate, we’ve developed a ‘live’ edit that favours new arrivals and properties that continue to evolve and improve (be it a bottom-up refurb, or a brilliant new menu). It’s also about award-winners that are at the top of their game, places we believe will define and inspire the Irish short break in 2018.
This tradition started out with stout medieval castle gate houses and ended with tiny decorative cottages stationed a meagre stone's throw from the main house they served.The former big house - presumably called Summerville - appears to be long gone and there is an estate of 1990s homes in its place.This estate is somewhat more poshly-named Sommerville.A step down takes you to the substantial kitchen and breakfastroom, also tiled and with traditional style units in a duck-egg hue.There are floor and ceiling cupboards and polished hardwood work tops.