A SEASIDE villa which heralded the start of the property boom when it sold for a record €7.5m in 1998 has returned to the market.
Sorrento House in Dalkey is being brought to market internationally by the London-based agency Knight Frank at an opportune time when wealthy Irish business people based abroad have been snapping up luxury homes here. It is understood that the firm is seeking offers in the region of €12m.
Many wealthy buyers are eager to secure value now, as prices begin to rise off the bottom. This is the first year that new trophy homes in the €3m-plus end of the market have been put up for sale again in the open market in Dalkey/Killiney.
But Sorrento House first grabbed the headlines 15 years ago when the IR£5.9m price tag paid at auction was the highest ever paid for an Irish home. It was many years before the record was beaten.
The real buyer turned out to be the Dublin-born and UK-based car alarm and security millionaire Terry Coleman.
At the time, the protected property was run down and was being sold on behalf of a 96-year-old widow Dorothy Lavery.
After a drawn-out planning battle, the reclusive Coleman later spent €10m on refurbishing and altering the house in what has to be the most expensive ever upgrades of one Dublin home by a private owner.
It took two and half years to complete the work. Mr Coleman then brought the house to market right at the peak of the property bubble in 2006 with a brash tag of €30m attached.
As the market quickly began to deflate, this was soon slashed the following year to €20m as Mr Coleman chased the market downwards in search of the best price. Finally, it was removed from the open market, but was believed to have been made available to private viewings for exclusive listed buyers through the international offices of Knight Frank in London.
Since its purchase, the house has been extended to more than double its size.
It has five large reception rooms and six bedrooms, but its biggest attraction is still the incredible sea views and large tract of direct sea frontage with its own boat jetty. The house is believed to have been restored in precise detail, sympathetic with its early Victorian style but enabling a modern lifestyle.
It is the largest home on Sorrento Terrace, an elegant clifftop row of just eight houses which has been called "millionaires' row".
This area was the prime focus of top-end buyers in the middle and late-1990s, until traffic issues shifted their focus to the more central Shrewsbury and Ailesbury Roads.
Residents at Sorrento Terrace have been listed as including Aer Lingus chairman Colm Barrington, tribunal millionaire Eoin McGonigal SC, Supreme Court Justice Frank Clarke, film director Neil Jordan, and the Cork-born former dentist Robin Power – one-time owner of Power Corporation, which for a time controlled many of London's most valuable commercial properties. Mr Coleman bought the property when Dalkey/Killiney was variously referred to abroad as "Bel Eire" or "Dublin's Riviera" or the "Rock Broker" belt.
Residents included Van Morrison, Enya, Bono, the Edge, Lisa Stanford, Jim Kerr and Patsy Kensit, Chris De Burgh and Damon Hill..