Victoria House, 80 Coliemore Road, Dalkey

Victoria House is a striking residence on c. 2 acres on Coliemore Road, Dalkey. It was built in the 1800’s by by James Milo Burke, who also built Springfield and Sorrento in the immediate vicinity.

In 1863 the house was available to rent, as were Springfield and Sorrento (called Queenstown Castle at the time). It is likely that they were all built around this time, as Victoria House was built in the early 1860s. The house was advertised as standing on 4 acres, with stables, coach house, gardens and 16 rooms.

In 1893 the house came up for sale as part of an executor’s sale, the house was subject to a ground rent of £160/annum.

In 1916, the house suffered major damage during a fire while owned by the President of Dublin Chamber of Commerce, Richard W. Booth. J.P. Booth also started the first pneumatic tyre factory, which is now Dunlops. The fire caused an estimated £10,000 worth of damage, which was thought to be covered by insurance. Cramptons, the famed master builders, rebuilt the house – keeping the original turret which survived, but nothing else. Crampton built homes are always in demand all around Dublin due to their high standards.

The home was owned for six decades, from the 1940s to the 2000s by the same family. In 1943 it was purchased by Senator John E. McEllin. Following Mr McEllin’s death in 1969, his wife, Una, sold the house and its gate lodge to their daughter Mrs Dara Lenehan and her husband in 1976. The Lenehans, who are best known for their association with their eponymous hardware business, owned the property until the 2000s.

Victoria House came to the market in 2001 expecting bids over £6,000,000. The house was advertised as being spread over three floors over basement, extending to approximately 6,000 sqft. The ground floor features 3 reception rooms, a drawing room, a morning room, a breakfast room and kitchen. The first floor features four bedrooms, one of which is the master suite which includes an ensuite bathroom with dressing room and also an ensuite shower room with dressing room. The second floor features 3 further bedrooms and a play room, with stairs leading up to the top of the turret where there is a studio with amazing views.

It failed to attract any bids at even IR£5.5 million at auction, but received a bid aftermarket of IR£5.75m which was rejected. The agents, Lisney, claimed they were still seeking IR£7.5m but eventually Foxrock agent, Daphne Kaye, sold the property for €5,500,000 to businessman Gerry Kelly three years later, in 2004. It is difficult to believe such an impressive property stood for sale for so long during the boom years, but it’s clear that buyers wanted houses with development potential – which was completely exhausted at Victoria House by the previous owners.

The property today stands on a much smaller site than it did originally, as plots were sold off to accommodate new modern homes. Dalkey Sound is a housing development built upon the 0.85 acre former walled orchard of Victoria House, and came up for sale separately the same year as Victoria House did, in 2001, guiding IR£1.9 with planning for three houses. The plot sold for IR£2.1m (€2.7m). The new owner applied for planning permission under the name Anglo Irish Assurance Group, which was a subsidiary of Anglo Irish Bank (AIB). While they were the listed as applicant, I believe that Seamus Desmond was the developer.

Only two houses were built, North House and West House, as the Celtic Tiger’s collapse took a toll on development plans. Both houses were available to rent in recent years and subsequently placed on the open market for sale.

Victoria House is extremely impressive in appearance and is by any definition a trophy home. Altogether, there has been a total of ten additional houses developed on its original grounds as a result of the subdivision of Victoria House’s lands. While the house has no frontage of its own onto any roads other than its entrance onto Coliemore Road, it is understand that its sea views are protected by restrictive covenants imposed upon the modern houses constructed around its boundary on Coliemore Road to limit their height, thus ensuring Victoria House continues to enjoy unobstructed views across Dalkey Sound.

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