Wife of Irish architect Ronnie Tallon leaves €13m and 170 works of art in her will

Ronnie Tallon in front of the Papal Cross he designed for John Paul II's visit in 1979

Niamh Horan

The wife of one of Ireland’s greatest modern architects has left more than €13m in her will.

Nora Tallon was married to the late Ronnie Tallon, one of the most prolific architects in Irish history.

Mr Tallon, who died in 2014, co-founded the firm Scott Tallon Walker with Michael Scott, Patrick Scott and Robin Walker in 1959. It was responsible for such landmark buildings as the RTÉ headquarters in Donnybrook, the Abbey Theatre and the Aviva Stadium.

Ms Tallon, who died in 2017, left the majority of her estate, including the couple’s award-winning home, her husband’s RIAI gold medals, papal knighthood and sword, five apartments, a wine cellar — and a treasure trove of art and jewellery — to the couple’s five children, Joan, Michael, Patricia, Yvonne and Deirdre, and 22 grandchildren.

In her will, Ms Tallon left the couple’s Foxrock home, as well as the gate lodge and two-acre grounds, to their children.

Ronnie Tallon won the 1971 RIAI housing medal for the design of the house. It was put on the market in 2021 with an asking price of €3.75m and was sold through private auction.

Ms Tallon also left 170 works of art to her children. Her husband originally wanted to be a painter, and his interest in art continued throughout his life, during which he amassed a valuable personal collection, including works by Louis Le Brocquy, William Scott, Sean Scully, Robert Ballagh, Cecil King and Andy Warhol.

Ms Tallon’s jewellery collection forms a central part of the estate. It features 25 unique pieces, including an emerald and diamond ring, a sapphire and diamond bracelet (with ring and earrings to match), a three-strand pearl choker, a Victorian diamond brooch, a diamond and sapphire ring, Tiffany-made gold and diamond chains, a Cartier diamond watch, a Patek Philippe watch and a black opal necklet and matching earrings.

She also left three apartments at Spencer Dock to her children Patricia, Deirdre and Michael, and a fourth apartment in Dún Laoghaire to her daughter Yvonne. She directed that a mortgage on an apartment on Clarion Quay, owned by her daughter Joan, be cleared in full.

She asked that two paintings — Peinture by Pierre Soulages and Berlin Blues 2 by William Scott — be donated to the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

Ms Tallon also gave equal shares in her company, Secretarial and Consultancy Services Ltd, to her children, and left a trust fund for each of her grandchildren, which they will receive when they turn 24.

Ronnie Tallon was the son of a shopkeeper, from whom he inherited a fierce work ethic. He undertook his last major project at the age of 83 when co-designing the multi-award-winning Aviva Stadium. He also designed the Papal Cross in the Phoenix Park, which loomed over a million people when Pope John Paul II visited Ireland.

Of his long career, Tallon said: “I’ve never looked on it as work. To me, it’s a way of life. I’d be lost without it.”