Kilross House, Monte Alverno, Sorrento Road, Dalkey

Known as Alverno Chapel House when it was the home of Hubert Rooney of the Gregorian Chant fame in the 1800s, Kilross House is an impressive castellated residence now owned by a famous musician. Back in the late 1800s when it was called the Chapel House, its existence was known to very few Dalkey residents. A Franciscan Father, P.J. Smith, lived there from the 1830s onwards. He inherited the property from a relative and sought permission from the Franciscan order to live there and set up an Oratory within it, holding mass on Sundays and holy days, which local residents could also attend. At that time there was no other chapel and people as far as Ballybrack travelled there, high up on Beacon Hill, as the nearest chapel was in Cabinteely or Dun Laoghaire (Kingstown). Generations later, people still remembered stories from their parents about Father P.J. Smith, about his charity and piety.

Kilross house was built onto the Oratory and they were presumably joined together by passageways. The building retained this layout for a very long time – perhaps even until the current celebrity owner purchased it, which would explain its strange layout. The house stands on a site extending to approximately 0.56 acres. It was sold by socialite Renata Coleman, former owner of the entire Monte Alverno estate, in 1995 with an guide price of around ¬£500,000. The home’s layout was a bit strange with narrow annexes, kitchens upstairs and downstairs, etc. In 1996, the new owners, musician Van Morrison and Michelle Rocca, were granted planning permission to partly demolish the house and to build a huge 3,584sqft extension, presumably to make the house more liveable and provide a better layout. The Morrisons¬†also applied for permission for a swimming pool, which was to be built in their front garden. In recent years the property has been in the news often due to its owners court cases regarding planning. First they were brought to court by the owner of Monte Alverno House due to a supposed breach of a covenant and then in 2010 they personally pursued the neighbours of neighvouring Mount Alverno in court due to their proposed construction of a large modern house and the implications that their development had on the privacy of Kilross House.

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