Monte Alverno, Sorrento Road, Dalkey
Monte Alverno is a stately castellated home extending to approximately 8,000 sqft, sitting on c. 1.2 acres, with rolling lawns, swimming pool and tennis court (which is shared with neighbouring Mount Alverno). The italianate pool area is absolute stunning, boasting amazing sea views. The house itself absolutely oozes charm with rich woods and bold colours throughout. The unusual Victorian style conservatory is built into the side of a granite rock bed, giving a unique natural rock wall, and it also houses various exotic plants and a koi carp pond. The conservatory was designed by Declan Crean of Crean Salley Architects and the estimated cost of a modern example would be an estimated €205,000.
The current owner is a businessman who purchased it for a price in the region of £1 million in late 1992 (The house and its lands for £885,000 and covenants and easements for £120,000). The home’s history is extensive, dating back to the 1800’s, when it was originally two separate georgian houses. The properties were named Number 1 and Number 2 Alverno and were built by the father of Mr Alexander Conan, who adored the properties’ unrivalled position. He built two houses as he wanted one a as a summer home and one house to let out. A barrister named Sir Edward Carson resided in the rental house circa 1880. Alexander Conan thoroughly renovated the two properties in 1895, combining them into one and naming it Monte Alverno. It was at this time that the then-unified property was castellated and given wood panelled walls, custom cabinetry and furniture by renowned cabinetmaker Robert Strahan of Dublin.
During the War of Independence, the house was supposedly commandeered by the British forces, and a British officer is said to have been shot in the library. In 1941 the owner of the house, Alexander Conan, died at the age of 87. Two years later, in 1943, the entire contents of the house and outdoor effects were auctioned off.
In 1958, Monte Alverno was set for sale again at a supposedly very low reserve to ensure sale and again in 1963 by auction, which was eventually postponed, before selling before auction 1964. In 1968 the house appeared back on the market again, listing its site as c. 3 acres, far greater than the current 1.2 acres on which it sits – likely incorporating neighbouring homes such as Mount Alverno and Kilross House.
Some time after this 1968 sale, socilate Renata Coleman acquired the property and other houses within the private enclave. As stated above, she sold the property to a businessman, who in turn sold his own home, a 17th Century cottage named Hunter’s Moon in Kilquade, Co. Wicklow on 7.5 acres. Monte Alverno’s buyer pumped money into the house over the years, including keeping full time staff to maintain the vast residence and gardens. The £1 million price paid did not include any of the neighbouring residences that Coleman owned. In 2007, the owner listed the house for sale for €25m through Sherry Fitzgerald’s Simon Ensor, remaining on the market for years with an undisclosed price tag, but failing to sell. Monte Alverno was also marketed in the Wall Street Journal in 2011 with an asking price of US$15.2m but did not sell.