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Dr Who star says it's time to travel

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Vena from the cult television show is moving to the country, writes Niall Toner.

Jeananne Crowley appeared alongside Michael Caine in Educating Rita, her most high-profile role to date. But it was as Princess Vena in Doctor Who that the Irish actress and writer achieved minor cult status. Her own Tardis is her home, a Victorian family house that goes on the market this week.

Crowley bought 9 Winton Road in Ranelagh, Dublin 6, in 1988. "I suppose the house found me really," she says. "I had walked past it many times over the years and always thought it would be nice to live there." Built in the 1850s, the house has been totally refurbished by the actress, with the help of David Sheehan, a college friend and architect.

Crowley was born in nearby Pembroke Road in Ballsbridge. She studied during the 1970s at University College Dublin, where she took an arts degree and was an active member of the drama society. "My parents were anxious that I go to college, but I was much more interested in the stage. I just about scraped through and got a degree in English and history of art," she says. After college, Crowley moved to London and joined the National Theatre, where she worked with people such as Peggy Ashcroft.

To supplement her acting income, she also worked as a journalist during this period. Crowley regularly contributed to The Irish Times, the Listener, Radio Times and The

Sunday Times, and has fond memories of hastily filing copy over the phone from theatre dressing rooms between scenes.

At the end of the 1980s, with her career established, she decided to buy a house but was torn between London and her home city. When she spotted 9 Winton Road for sale, her mind was made up. Crowley and Sheehan spent a couple of years sourcing materials for the house and carrying out the restoration.

Many of the original period features, such as the sash windows, had to be replaced and salvaged materials, including marble fireplaces, were installed. Floors were stripped and polished, and cornices and plasterwork repaired.

While Crowley has tried to be faithful in her restoration work on the house, she has managed to avoid being slavish. For example, the

dining room on the ground floor is currently home to a snooker table, while the en suite in the master bedroom is a former bedroom itself.

As with most performers, she loves nothing better than to entertain, and this has become a legendary party house over the years. The kitchen has a large dining table where, Crowley claims, friends of hers have met over dinner, fallen in love and married.

Now Crowley feels it is time for a change of pace, and she is trading in her smart city social life for the relative peace and quiet of the Connemara countryside. Although she has just finished touring as Goneril in Shakespeare's King Lear, she does less acting now.

Her appetite for refurbishment is undiminished and in Galway she is taking on another restoration project. This time it is an old rectory in Cleggan and she has recruited the help of another long- time friend, Sam Stephenson, the architect. Her plan is to raise animals, and she is especially interested in Connemara ponies. She also intends devoting some of her time to writing.

No 9 has two storeys over a garden level and its total accommodation extends to some 3,200 sq ft. The entrance hall is lit by a roof light and has a terrazzo floor. On this level is the drawing room and the dining room. The former overlooks the front garden and features a white- marble fireplace. The latter is connected to this by double doors and overlooks the side garden.

On the hall return is a bathroom and one of the bedrooms. Upstairs is the master bedroom, which features a fireplace, and the large en- suite bathroom. This is accessed via double doors and features twin walk-in wardrobes and two hand basins. There is a second bedroom on this floor.

A fourth bedroom is on the lower return and is currently in use as an office. It has a cast-iron fireplace and built-in bookshelves.

The ground-floor level has a hallway with a quarry-tiled floor and storage space. The kitchen comes with an Aga, a gas hob, electric oven and dishwasher, and is connected to a living room by an archway. There is also a wine cellar and a lobby that connects to the hall. The rear hall has stripped pine floors and leads to a cloakroom with a toilet, a utility and the garden room, which features a glass roof and a flagstone floor. The garden has a Liscannor stone patio.

The new owners will inherit planning permission to build a twostorey, two-bedroom mews house in the garden, with scope for a living room/dining room, kitchen, shower room, bathroom, off-street parking and its own private garden.

No9 will be auctioned on Wednesday May 16, through agent Bergins (01-660 3587), which has set a guide price of £1.85m (2.3m).

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  • APA 6th ed.: Toner, Niall (2001-05-06). Dr Who star says it's time to travel. The Sunday Times p. Irish, p. 2.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Toner, Niall. "Dr Who star says it's time to travel." The Sunday Times [add city] 2001-05-06, Irish, p. 2. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Toner, Niall. "Dr Who star says it's time to travel." The Sunday Times, edition, sec., 2001-05-06
  • Turabian: Toner, Niall. "Dr Who star says it's time to travel." The Sunday Times, 2001-05-06, section, Irish, p. 2 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Dr Who star says it's time to travel | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Dr_Who_star_says_it%27s_time_to_travel | work=The Sunday Times | pages=Irish, p. 2 | date=2001-05-06 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=19 January 2021 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Dr Who star says it's time to travel | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Dr_Who_star_says_it%27s_time_to_travel | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=19 January 2021}}</ref>