Killead, 23 Shrewsbury Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
By most definitions, Killead is the finest home on Shrewsbury Road. With a sprawling 1.4 acres of perfectly manicured gardens, the most frontage onto both Shrewsbury Road and Ailesbury Road of any single home, and the house itself is absolutely stunning.
Unsurprisingly, given how special a home this is, it has traded hands less than a handful of times since it was first constructed, presumably around the turn of the 20th Century. The first owners were Mary & Arthur Perry and their family and, following Arthur’s passing at the age of 80 in 1923 and Mary’s passing in 1926, the house and contents came up for sale. The 1926 sale was the one and only occasion that the property has ever been offered on the open market.
The buyers in 1926 were Mr. Basil McGukin S.C. and Mrs. Alice McGukin, who lived at the property until Mr. McGukin passed away at the home in 1944. Following this, Alice moved to 65 Ailesbury Road, a substantial semi-detached Edwardian house directly across the street, and later remarried. The next owner was Mr. Martin J. Winston, who died in 1959, and his family remained in the home for many years thereafter. Martin P. Winston, presumably the above named man’s son, applied for permission to build a new house in the grounds of Killead. This house was originally known as The Grove, 40A Ailesbury Road but is now known as Mulcaire, 40A Ailesbury Road.
Mulcaire is a large 1960s-style home with 3 reception rooms, 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a garage. Truth be told, it is not a particularly pretty or important home, but it enjoys a good degree of privacy, set well back from the road and surrounded by mature trees. Its plot extends to approximately 0.25 acres or so and is west facing, with very little blocking the westerly sun – a coveted feature for any home in today’s market. It sold last in 1987 for IR£188,000 and has not been on the open market since. The current owners are believed to be the O’Meara family.
Killead’s current owner acquired it, presumably in an off-market deal, in 1985. Paul Anderson, the cinema mogul, is the current owner and has owned the property for three decades. Under his ownership, the property has been carefully preserved and sympathetically extended (not by much) to a comfortable 6,027sqft. While the property’s lands were once significantly more extensive before the construction of “Mulcaire”, the house still stands on a truly magical 1.4 acre site, laid out in verdant lawns, formal gardens and a hard tennis court. The house is very special in that it is literally enveloped in picturesque gardens, rather than having a rectangular site with defined ‘front’ and ‘back’ gardens as is the case with the vast majority of houses on the street. This feature does not negatively impact the home as would be the case for some other houses due to the mature planting surrounding the property’s grounds, and the only clear glimpse of the grounds one will usually see is from over the low front gates.
While Anderson has maintained the property to the highest of standards, there have been no major changes to the property and absolutely no plans to develop the property’s lands. Considering how relaxed Dublin City planning appears to be, it is safe to assume that at least two other large mansions could be erected on the site – one to the North of the existing house on Shrewsbury Road, adjoining ‘Hawthorn’, 21A Shrewsbury Road, and another to the South East of the property, adjoining “Mulcaire”, 40A Ailesbury Road. Thankfully Anderson has opted to keep the property as-is and not attempt to destroy the crown jewel of Shrewsbury Road. In past decades, other properties with similarly impressive sites have been developed – Correen, 42 Ailesbury Road, directly across the street and Clancool, 15 Shrewsbury Road, both enjoyed similar site sizes to Killead, but both have since been developed and are nowhere near the level of Killead. Walford is the only property with a larger site area on Shrewsbury Road, but planning has been granted for additional houses to the rear of the property. Even if Walford is not developed and retains a larger site than Killead, Killead is essentially still superior in most ways. Anderson’s preserving of Killead seems to run in the family, as his father owned the unspoiled 5 acre Bartra House up until 1981, when it was sold for the highest ever price achieved for a Dublin home at the time (IR£500k) and was subsequently developed. We can only hope that the Anderson family intend to stay in this wonderful property for a long time to come and that hopefully his children will follow in their father and grandfather’s footsteps in the very distant future should they inherit the property and do their utmost to preserve it.