“I’d been hanging around in Jason’s snooker hall in Ranelagh since I was eight. My mam used to come down there with a wooden spoon and chase me out to get me to come back and do my homework. One day I saw that someone had left a cue behind and it was warped. I didn’t own a cue and I really wanted one so I asked the manager if I could have it. He told me I could buy it for five quid.
“I asked mam and she agreed to give me the five quid. So I went into a shop and changed it for single pound notes. I put two into one pocket and three into the other. I told the manager the best I could do was two quid and I reached in and took it out of that pocket. Thinking that was all I could get, he agreed and the snooker cue was mine. It was the best two quid I ever spent.”
It was 25 years ago last month that Ken Doherty and his warped two quid cue won the World Snooker Championship, beating Stephen Hendry and his straight cue 18-12 at the Crucible in Sheffield.
“I have played with that cue ever since and the prize money I made with it allowed me to buy my home at Highfield Road.” They don’t call him ‘Crafty Ken’ on the snooker circuit for nothing.
In all, he made three finals, losing out in 1998 and again in 2003. But today Doherty and his curvy cue are still a feature of world snooker. He still holds in the world’s top 100 and was recently given a two year wild card for the World Snooker Tour. This year he got into the second round of the tournament.
As a pundit, since 2009 his renowned tactical brain today helps television viewers assess what’s going down on the baize.
But after separating from his wife Sarah, the couple have decided to sell up their Rathgar home which comes to market this week for €2.5m.
“We’re still very good friends but these days I’m based in England a lot. My son is also attending school in England and Sarah wants a change so we’re putting it on the market.”
And despite getting ready to sell up, he still has ideas for the house: “A new owner could always think about putting a mews into the garden, it’s big enough without cutting the garden too much and there’s access at the back to a lane.
“We got married in 2001 and we had a great little house at Hollybank Avenue in Ranelagh but it was small and we decided we needed something bigger.
“I’ve always loved Dublin 6 where I grew up and I’ve always been fascinated with the Georgian and Victorian houses in the area, the history of them and the fine detailing that went into building them. I love everything about them, the front doors with the fanlights and the big windows that let in all that light.
“So when we went looking in 2005. I fell in love with the house as soon as I saw it, with that Virginia creeper all across its frontage, the lovely big rooms and that 140 foot garden which is laid out with flowers and trees,” he says.
The creeper which covers the house changes colour with the seasons, from green to red to orange and then yellow.
“The other great benefit is the area itself. I can get to Ranelagh and Rathmines easily and there’s loads of great parks to go walking in with Palmerston Park, Fairfield Park and Bushy Park. Dublin 6 has all my favourite bars. There’s The 51 nearby and of course Smiths, Birchalls and McSorleys over in Ranelagh.”
If it doesn’t have a snooker table, it’s because Doherty didn’t bring his work home. If he fancies a few frames he can attend his own snooker academy established a short walk away in Terenure Village in 2011. “You do have to practice a lot to keep your hand in. So the most I ever go without playing is a couple of weeks.
“This house needed no work at all when we bought it and structurally it was perfect. All we had to do was decorate it. And I love shopping for furniture. I also like a lot of colour.”
No62 is visually vibrant inside with wallpapers in bold prints and furniture in bright eye-catching colours.
“We also invested in the kitchen which we got brand new. It was done by Neptune.”
The floor spans 2,720 sq ft over three floors and returns with five bedrooms and three bathrooms. Steps lead up to the entrance level and an ornate hall typical of the era with a ceiling rose and an elaborate arch to the inner hall.
The lounge comes with a marble chimney piece with a cast iron and tiled inset and a stained timber floor. Folding doors lead through to the living room which also has a marble chimney piece with a copper hood fitted and a stained timber floor.
Downstairs the garden level has its own entrance. This is where the kitchen and dining area is located with its twin earthenware sinks and granite worktops. There’s a bedroom on this floor, a shower room with a power shower and WC and there’s a study which could be an extra bedroom.
Also here is a media room with a parquet floor, and family room with a solid field stove and French doors to the garden. Underfloor heating is installed throughout the ground floor.
Upstairs, bedroom one has a big walk-in wardrobe as well as access to the attic, and there’s a bathroom with a cast iron standalone tub with two windows overlooking the garden.
The first floor return landing is furnished with bookshelves and contains a feature arched window overlooking the garden. Bedroom two has alcove shelving, a window seat and a shower room. The third bedroom has a marble chimney piece in situ.
Outside, that big rear garden has an ornate Koi pond, a circular cobblelock patio and a summer house. There’s a door out to the back lane.
The property is situated beside Rathgar Village with nearby schools including St Mary’s, St Louis, Stratford, St Joseph’s, Alexandra College and Gonzaga. It’s also handy for UCD and near the Luas at Cowper.
Meantime, when he’s in Ireland Ken stays at the family home in Ranelagh, close to the former site of Jason’s where it all started.
“It’s not there any more, like a lot of the snooker halls we played in. They’ve all been closed and I guess the property market took them. I’ll miss this house but I’ll always be back to the neighbourhood,” says Ken.
Mullery O’Gara seeks €2.5m.