No. 25 Fitzwilliam Place
No. 25 Fitzwilliam Place was once part of the Fitzwilliam estate, South Dublin property owned for centuries by the Viscounts FitzWilliam. It was the 7thViscount Fitzwilliam, Richard, who significantly contributed to the development of South Dublin by designing and building FitzWilliam Square and other South Dublin neighbourhoods. The homes on Fitzwilliam Place were largely completed in 1836, with the neighbourhood proceeding in stages as houses were built in pairs or small groups. Upon Richard’s death the vast Fitzwilliam estate in Dublin went to his relative Sidney Herbert.
Sidney Herbert was born at Richmond in 1810, the second son of the eleventh Earl of Pembroke. He was educated at Harrow and at Oriel College, Oxford, where he took his degree with honours in 1831. In the following year he entered the House of Commons as member for South Wilts. In 1845, he was made Secretary for War, with a seat in Sir Robert Peel’s Cabinet.
William Watson & Family
In 1841 Sidney Herbert leased the house at No. 25 Fitzwilliam Place to William Watson III for 150 years, at a yearly rent of 26 pounds and fourteen shillings. No. 25 first appears in the Directories shortly after this agreement, in 1843. That same year Watson was appointed joint managing director of the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company, where he distinguished himself by devising a canal passenger-barge. The barge was such a success that it was purchased by the Egyptian Government and sent to the Mamodyeh Canal.
A biography about William’s son Charles gives us another glimpse into the Watson family’s life in No. 25 – it particularly praises the influence of the matriarch Sarah Watson, William’s wife. Sarah Watson was said to be highly intelligent and full of hospitality, and made 25 Fitzwilliam Place a happy home for her six children.
William and Sarah’s son Edward Watson practised medicine in No. 25 for 47 years. At the time of his death on 22 March 1947 the house had been in the possession of the Watson family for over 100 years.
Henry Marvelle Read
After Edward’s death, Henry M. Read occupied No. 25, sharing the house with Dr. John Fleming and other doctors. Born in Roscrea, Co. Tipperary in 1888, Henry Marvell (Harry) Read was a renowned sportsman who represented Ireland in three sports: Rugby, Tennis & Cricket. During his studies at St. Columba’s College, he was captain of all three sports. In 1909 he joined the Irish Cricket team which toured North America. He excelled on the Rugby field, gaining 13 Irish caps with his partner Dickie Lloyd. It is generally claimed that he invented modern half back play and himself and Lloyd were certainly among the first to operate at scrum half (Read) and fly half (Lloyd) as specialists. As a Tennis player, Read gained selection for Ireland.
The Kelly Family
Irish family-owned and managed since 2005, the Kelly family has lovingly restored No 25 to its Georgian hey-day. The Kelly family opened No. 25 as a private venue in 2012 after completing a small refurb job that included painting the house, the colours and style of which were chosen by Director, Fiona Kelly. Many of the antique furniture pieces are from the Kelly family home, as well as some others purchased specifically for the space. In 2018 the house underwent a further refurbishment and fitout.
Since taking over No. 25, the Kelly family have transformed the building into a leading city centre destination for those seeking a private venue that emanates elegance and sophistication combined with Georgian grandeur.
Located on one of Dublin’s most elegant streets, the ‘Georgian Mile’, No. 25 Fitzwilliam Place spans 3 floors catering for private dining, corporate events and weddings. Each floor encapsulates the building’s classic yet contemporary style with impeccably restored Georgian features which highlight the property’s original period heritage. No. 25 Fitzwilliam Place offers guests their own private house in the heart of Dublin.