Correen, 42 Ailesbury Road, Donnybrook, Dublin 4

Correen, once located at 42 Ailesbury Road, technically no longer exists – although the facades of 80, 82, 84 Ailesbury Road combine to make a replica of the original mansion’s facade.


Correen was built to exacting standards in 1898 with an American architect at a cost of £4,500 on a highly valuable corner site with major frontage onto Dublin City’s two most important roads – 135ft on Ailesbury Road and 240ft on Shrewsbury Road.

While the house only lasted about 90 years before final demolition for redevelopment, it has been home to many interesting residents. The first known person associated with the property is Robert Browne, who died at the property in 1904 – however, this is not to say that he owned the mansion, as large properties such as this would often have been rented out following construction. After Browne, the next residents were the family of Richard Manifold, who was the Secretary of the Dublin Stock Exchange. This family presumably resided in the home for a short period of time as it was placed on the open market in 1910 with 5 years remaining on the current lease, so it is possible that Richard Manifold and his family lived there up until 1915.

The next owners’ stay at the property was significantly longer. Mr. Edmund Williams (originally from Tullamore, Offaly) was a prominent businessman involved in various companies. He and his wife had only one child, a daughter named Mary, who married in 1939 and Mr. Williams died ten years later in 1949. His funeral was attended by Eamon de Valera himself and representatives on behalf of Irish President Sean T. O’Kelly and the taoiseach John A. Costello, along with many other guests.

Marchese Malacrida

The next owners, and final residents, of Correen were The Marchese and Marchesa Malacrida – their full names/titles were Marchese Peter M. Malacrida and Marchesa May Malacrida. They presumably bought the property in 1951 when it came up for auction. The Marchese was born c. 1888 and was an Italian aristocrat, international playboy and interior designer. By the time he purchased Correen, which by any standards was a substantial residence on one of the biggest sites on Ailesbury Road, he was c. 63 years old – an age where people are not usually looking to acquire rambling mansions on 1.5+ acres of land. I do not know if the couple had heirs or not.

The property was briefly on the market by the request of Malacrida in 1964. The main house and mews to the rear were on offer, with a large site on Shrewsbury Road being retained by Malacrida. The proposed revised site plan does not line up with the current situation and I imagine that Malacrida never sold the property at this point, as if it were sold the site would have been too broken up to provide for the demolition and construction of the homes and gardens that currently occupy the site.

Peter Malacrida passed away in an Irish nursing home (possibly St. Joseph’s in Kilcroney, Bray) at the age of 95 in 1983. I believe that Peter was the person who constructed 28 Shrewsbury Road. The house supposedly dates from the 70’s, which was during his ownership and presumably he decided to move to a more modern, manageable home with only two floors. When he died, his address was listed as being Shrewsbury Road so this further suggests it was he who constructed and move to Number 28.

At the time of Peter Malacrida’s death, Harry Crosbie purchased Correen, along with the two mews houses. Crosbie occupied No. 28 Shrewsbury Road in the late 1980’s while planning the development of the original house and site. He originally intended to erect a dozen townhouses on Coreen – however, these plans were quickly shot down by opposition from Ailesbury Road locals and the Residents’ association, unsurprisingly. Eventually a redevelopment plan was agreed upon, which consisted of the demolition of Coreen and the erection of a new building with a replica facade, which housed four terraced houses. The two end-of-terraced properties are two stories high, the mid-terraced ones are three stories high with sizes ranging from 2,500 – 3,000 sq.ft, all with their own private gardens. The homes were guiding £220,000 – £330,000 at the time, although were seemingly originally intended to be £350,000 – £450,000, which is quite a difference.

The largest of the homes was originally the end-of-terrace at the Shrewsbury Road end, which has its own separate entrance onto Shrewsbury Road – automatically causing its value to skyrocket and Crosbie himself occupied this property at the time. This new Shrewsbury Road home is referred to as ‘Coreen’ and its address is 30 Shrewsbury Road. The two mews houses were also permitted to be redeveloped – one was 28 Shrewsbury Road, and the other has its own access from Ailesbury Road (78 Ailesbury Road), which has been recently rebuilt. John Meagher of de Blacam and Meagher designed 5 of the houses (not 28 Shrewsbury Road) and the landscaping was done by Paul Kelly.

It is somewhat hard to believe that Crosbie was permitted to demolish the original Correen, which was undoubtedly one of the most important and handsome homes in the whole of Dublin. While I think the development was a successful development and the decision to rebuild the original facade was fantastic, I cannot help but wish that the original house remained as a single family residence on 1.5+ acres. Financially, while I’m sure Crosbie profited, the prices achieved by the houses were not particularly impressive at the time, although they were the most expensive new homes to be built in Dublin. The sharp rise in interest rates at the time lead to weaker selling prices.

78 Ailesbury Road is a mews residence on c. 0.21 acre that Crosbie retained. It was originally available to rent at £2,500 per month and was rented to US diplomats. The John Meagher designed home was a mix of two-storey and single-storey structure, the two-storey structure being either the original coach house or a replica of it. Due to the retention of the original design/building, the two-storey element of the property was darker than the light-filled ground floor extension. The red-brick house extended to approximately 2,800sqft with limited garden space, most of which to the front of the house. The house had generous proportions (though an unconventional layout) and comprised  4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, 3 reception rooms – its noteworthy features included a master suite with en suite bathroom and dressing room. Despite these proportions, the house’s original fit-out was basic. Crosbie placed the house for sale in 1995 at £350,000+ with Eoin Deering (the same agent who originally sold all the houses). Fast forward 10 years, to 2005 when the house was placed for sale by owner Eugene O’Reilly (of O’Reilly transport) and his wife Virginia at €3,600,000 having failed to sell at auction for €3,900,000 in October 2004. The house eventually sold in April 2005 for a sum in excess of €4,000,000.

The property’s exterior was rather un-extraordinary as far as Celtic Tiger standards went, so it was little surprise that the purchaser, who owns a number of premium gyms in Dublin, applied to completely transform the property the year after purchasing it. While the planning application was lodged in 2006, the construction did not take place until much later and now the house extends to approximately 5,100sqft (82% larger than it was previously). 

80 Ailesbury Road is a three bedroom, two-storey house at the western end of the terrace, originally extending to approximately 2m200sqft, however it has recently undergone extension to the ground floor. Very little is known about the property as it has never been on the open market to the best of my knowledge since it was originally sold by the developer for IR£275,000 in 1992 (£15k over the guide). In 1996 a planning application was lodged by a company named Castleforbes Property Limited, a company that counts entrepreneur and TV personality Gavin Duffy amongst its directors. The permission related to the construction of 4 separate entrances for the 4 separate properties on Ailesbury Road within the original ‘Correen’ site, however it is unclear whether Duffy’s owned, or continues to own, one of the properties. Gavin Duffy and Orlaith Carmody-Duffy appealed the decision to refuse planning, however planning was never granted as the four houses still share a single entrance. Despite Duffy’s involvement in the case, in 2001 Mr. John Whitla (who owned Kitchen Flair in Sandymount) applied for planning permission for an external modification of Number 80. Mr. Whitla is also a director of Castleforbes Property Limited, however he applied this time in his own name. The then-owner of 84 Ailesbury Road is also a former director of Castleforbes, suggesting that each of the directors may have owned or joint-owned houses on the terrace. Gavin Duffy owns a property Ailesbury Road according to The Independent, further suggesting he may have an interest in one of these.

Originally seeking £220,000 in 1992, the property was eventually lowered to a relatively low £199,000 in 1993. As with the other properties, the timing was unfortunate with the currency crisis and high interest rates both arriving. The c. 2,200sqft property is currently a rental property, and appears to be untouched – retaining all of its 90’s “features”. While the original decor and fit-out was reminiscent of a bog-standard 90’s city centre apartment, the house importantly has relatively good ceiling heights and proportions, and as such it was possible to make significant improvements in terms of decor (to the extent that all evidence of this being a 90’s build can be eradicated) when the property was redecorated and professionally staged for sale in 2015 – hitting the market with an asking price of €1.75 million.

In terms of this house’s layout, on the ground floor there is a large living room to the front, with inter-connecting dining room featuring a bizarrely small stove, along with a kitchen, pantry and conservatory. The ground floor hallway features a W.C. under the stairs. At first floor level, there are two double bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms and dressing rooms and finally at second floor level, there are two double bedrooms that share one bathroom.

In 2013, prior to its redecoration, the property was offered for rent in original condition at €4,000 per month by a lady named Deborah Allen, however I cannot confirm whether she is the owner of the property. Following her listing of the property, Lisney took over the listing and asked a more humble €3,500 per month.

Once the second largest house on the four-house terrace, Number 84 is now the largest of the four, extending to c. 4,000sqft of luxurious accommodation. Originally the house extended to approximately 3,000sqft and was offered for sale at a number of prices when first launched on the market – the lowest being IR£299,000. I believe the then buyer was likely to be jeweller Brian Jacobson, who was most definitely living in the property from 1996 as he lodged a planning application in that year relating to the property. Mr Jacobson and his wife, Karon Jacobson, resided at the property until its eventual sale in 2006, and they are responsible for the extensive and costly refurbishment of the property that brought it from 90’s drab (as would have been the case when they originally bought it), to bona fide Celtic Tiger territory. Indeed, it was probably their fantastic refurbishment and extension of the property that attracted former high-flyers Brian O’Donnell and Mary Patricia O’Donnell to the property when they paid an astounding €9,600,000 for the modern terraced home at auction in 2006.

No expense was spared on the property’s renovation, with the ground floor covered in Portuguese limestone, Brazilian walnut antique Parquet and antique travertine. The kitchen, which features underfloor heating, was custom designed by The Design House and has every amenity, including a 30-bottle wine cooler. There are four very spacious double bedrooms, three bathrooms and a utility room on the upper floors. To the rear, the property features a 65ft long garden, similar in length to No’s 80 & 82.

Fast forward to 2013 – as the O’Donnell’s financial issues are splashed across newspapers, no. 84 is quietly sold in 2013 in an off-market deal to an unknown buyer for €2,500,000 – quite a haircut from the €9.6m paid. The property is likely currently let, having been placed on the market at €6,000 per month around the time of its sale. Brian & Karon Jacobson moved out to the O’Donnell’s locality, Killiney, having purchased a one acre site on the former lands of ‘Kenah Hill’ on St. George’s Avenue in 2005 for an undisclosed sum from Martin Birrane, who was originally granted permission for the c. 8,000sqft home in 2001 and who sold the main Kenah Hill house around the same time. They have since constructed a breathtaking modern mansion unlike anything that I have ever seen in Dublin.


Sold in late 1992 for IR£362,000 No. 30 Shrewsbury Road was originally the largest house on the new terrace, extending to 2,900sqft and sitting on approximately one quarter of an acre of land – albeit a rather exposed site, with no ‘back garden’ so to speak as the site is rather wide but shallow. Due to the low walls surrounding the property, practically every inch of the grounds can be seen from the street. Originally the house featured 3 reception rooms, 4 bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms, although this may have been modified since then. At the time of its construction, Harry Crosbie made modifications to his home at No. 28 Shrewsbury Road to ensure that no windows overlooked No. 30, presumably to try offer some improved level of privacy and to achieve a higher selling price. A couple purchased the home in 1992 and have resided there ever since. The property has remained for over two decades under the radar, having never been placed on the open market, however it is most definitely occupied and not left vacant like many of its Shrewsbury Road neighbours.