Ballsbridge home that once hosted the Queen on the market for €1.25m
It's claimed social big shots at Raglan Court hosted the Queen
Published 13/05/2016 | 02:30
Did Queen Victoria really stop off on the first leg of her controversial 1900 Ireland visit to call into the mad and bad multi-millionairess recluse, Maria Georgina Duckett of Raglan Road in Dublin 4, for a casual cup of tea?
The tale comes from a site-history researched by a former resident of Raglan Court, the luxury apartment building which was once De Wyndsore - the Duckett's 1870 built city home. The amateur historian who worked in RTE claimed to have found records of the pitstop.
Queen Vic stepped off the Royal Yacht on day one of her 1900 visit, taking a carriage to the Viceregal residence at the Phoenix Park. The route did indeed pass up Raglan Road and right by the home of William and Maria Duckett, social big shots at the time.
'The Famine Queen' didn't like the Irish. There had been two separate failed assassination attempts by Irish men and, more recently, the nationalist dominated Dublin Corporation had returned her gift of a statue of her beloved late husband Prince Albert - and repudiated her royal directive to stick him in St Stephen's Green and change its name to Albert Square.
The Duckett's country seat, Ducketts Grove in Carlow, was one of Ireland's most impressive estates and came with an enormously sumptuous Gothic revival castle and more than 12,000ac ranged across five counties. William Duckett's first wife died without heir and so in 1895, aged 73, he married the 29 years younger widow Maria Georgina in a desperate attempt to catch up.
He bought her De Wyndsore, the towered red-brick house on Raglan Road as a wedding present. It was one of Dublin's best homes but the purchase and the marriage also marked the beginning of the end for the powerful Duckett dynasty.
Maria Georgina had a lifelong fear of Catholics whom she believed were plotting to kill her. When her husband died in 1908, she fled Duckett's Grove for Raglan Road, leaving the estate to be subdivided and sold.
She spent her next years living in apparent squalor in De Wyndsore among her cats and donating almost all of the estate proceeds to charity.
Her death in 1937 sparked a notorious court case when her daughter Olive, who had been cut off for marrying an O'Grady, was left just one shilling - the rest going to charity.
The famous 'Angry Shilling' case of 1939 became a national sensation and saw Olive contest the will on the grounds of insanity.
In the end, poor Olive got £7,000 of the remaining £100,000 - then worth millions - and the rest went to charities and lawyers. Too big to be practical as a private residence, De Wyndsore, was converted into flats.
In the 1990s it was renovated further into a luxury apartment scheme and No7, which had housed the main receptions (and therefore possibly hosted the Queen), was purchased by Riverdance composer Bill Whelan who in turn sold it on to the current owners. At their launch they were the most expensive apartments in the city.
At 1,500 sq ft, the apartment is larger than an average city house and comes with high ceilings, cornicing and architraves, fire places, dado rails and polished wooden floors.
There's a reception/dining suite of rooms, a separate living room with original fireplace and tri-panelled bay windows in the curved turret. There is a kitchen/dining/living room with a full set of appliances including washer-dryer, dishwasher, fridge-freezer, oven and hob. It has two double bedrooms, both with ensuite facilities, and a guest wc in the entrance hall. The house comes with one designated parking space but there is ample visitor parking and communal gardens.
And with this sort of elegance and the ultra prestigious D4 locale, you never know who might drop in for tea.
7 Raglan Court
Raglan Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 6
Asking price: €1.25m
Agent: Lisney (01) 6624511