Sorrento (Queenstown Lodge), Nerano Road, Dalkey
Sorrento, Nerano Road, is a beautiful L-shaped period house, dating back to the 19th Century when it was first named Queenstown Lodge. The house was built by James Milo Burke, who also built neighbouring Victoria House and Springfield.
The house was definitely already built by 1876, thus was definitely around for some time before then. The house seemed to have generally kept a long-term owners, unless there it traded hands in private deals. The house came up for auction in 1902 with Bennett and Son auctioneers, including all furniture suggesting that the owner may have died.
The family of William George Burton lived in Sorrento circa 1916, probably since 1902 and until 1922. In 1922, the property and its contents were listed for sale again.
In 1950 the property re-emerged for auction with Hamilton and Hamilton Estates, who described it as a family house with 6 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, lounge hall, 3 reception rooms and standing on 1.5 acres. Colm Condon (now deceased), a former Attorney-General and senior counsel, lived in the house from the 1960s. Condon represented Charles Haughey and his family in the Moriarty Tribunal. The house was publicly listed for sale in 2005, after four decades in the hands of the Condons, with the house advertised as extending to 4,800 sq.ft, with the same number of rooms but a mere half of the site it occupied 55 years prior. This is most likely due to the development of neighbouring Coach House (assuming it was sold), Tregara (Tragara), and El Poca. In spite of this development the house was still, even after losing half its site, advertised as having ‘development potential’ – and the new buyer made plans to cash in on this.
The home was sold in 2006 for approximately €5.5 million to a man from Heytesbury Lane, Ballsbridge – it failed to sell in 2005 following a request for tenders to be submitted, an unusual sales tactic, and was then re-advertised with a guide of €3.75 million. I believe the original guide was €5 million. Considering that Condon bought the house in the 60’s, before Dalkey prices exploded in the late 70’s marked by the sale of nearby Beulah, he likely paid a small sum to acquire it.
The development of Sorrento did not end here, however. Part of Sorrento’s gardens, fronting onto Green Road, were redeveloped by a Westminster, London-based man. The modern house, designed by Patricia Mangan (Studio M Architects),
Sorrento itself was also redeveloped and is now in magnificent condition throughout, having been lavishly refurbished by the owner’s architects, de Blacam and Meagher, circa 2007. The owners added a new floor at second floor level, with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over Dalkey Sound, which would suit a second master bedroom or perhaps a study or entertainment room. The ground floor reception rooms have beautiful parquet wood floors. On the first floor there is a large master suite with dressing room and master bathroom, with a further four bedrooms and two bathrooms.
The house, as it stands today, is an exceptional 7,000sqft residence, albeit on a 0.54 acre site – practically a third of its size 50 years prior. While the gardens may not be half as generously sized as they once were, the house is still highly appealing and valuable and its Nerano Road location is excellent.