Household names are frequently embroiled in contentious rows over homes
From U2 to Van Morrison, and veteran broadcaster Pat Kenny to film director Jim Sheridan, household names in Ireland are no strangers to rows with their neighbours and planning bodies over issues involving their own homes or neighbourhoods.
And, perhaps not surprisingly, the millionaires’ row in Dalkey and Killiney in south Dublin – colloquially known as ‘Dalkey sur Mer’ – features in several of these high-profile planning rows.
Their disputes precede the latest planning rows among high-profile homeowners, after former Kerry GAA star Paul Galvin and his wife, former Today FM presenter Louise Duffy, became the latest celebrities to be embroiled in a planning row with their neighbours.
In the Galvin-Duffy case, it’s a dispute over a proposed extension to their home in Ranelagh, south Dublin, in which neighbours have lodged an appeal against a decision by Dublin City Council to grant permission to build an extra storey on to their bungalow.
Meanwhile, Pat Kenny and local residents emerged as the winners in the latest battle with developer Richard Barrett’s Bartra Property (Dublin) over its redevelopment plans for Bulloch Harbour near Dalkey.
The Newstalk presenter and his wife Kathy were among local residents opposed to the developer’s plans for a mixed-use complex at the harbour – which is near their home ‘The Anchorage’, purchased in 1988. They said it would change Bulloch Harbour’s “welcoming ambience utterly, forever”.
Last March, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council refused planning permission for various reasons, including a potential flood risk.
In June 2021, the same council refused planning permission for Bartra’s plans for a 104-bed nursing home on the site, which the Kennys argued, among other issues, would endanger the local badger population. In their submission, the couple claimed the “straightforward commercially driven enterprise cannot justify killing the badgers of Bulloch Harbour”.
However, the council refused planning permission after finding the proposed nursing home “would adversely impact on the residential amenity of adjacent properties by reason of overlooking and overbearing appearance” and would “detract from the existing visual and residential amenities of the area, would depreciate the value of property in the vicinity, and if permitted, set an undesirable precedent for similar development in the area”.
The same council also heard objections from Ali Hewson, wife of U2 frontman Bono and other local residents over plans for a mixed-use development at Killiney beach, including a restaurant, a shop, an extension and renovation of two dwellings, and the building of five chalets for rental use.
Ms Hewson said she, her husband and their children have enjoyed a right of way down to the picturesque Killiney Beach from their home at Temple Hill over the past 30 years.
The council’s planning report found the developer must demonstrate how the right of way can be maintained, concluding the planned mixed-use development is generally acceptable in principle.
However, a decade earlier, the same council approved an application by U2 guitarist The Edge to transform a two-storey Dalkey cottage overlooking Killiney Bay into a dream home – only for An Bord Pleanála to ultimately overturn permission following an appeal by heritage body An Taisce.
The musician, who applied for planning permission under his real name David Evans, had hoped to demolish an existing single-storey extension, a conservatory and a garage at Sorrento Cottage on Vico Road in 2001, leaving just 185sq metre of the existing construction.
He had hoped to add a 549sq metre, two-storey extension that would feature six bedrooms, a bar, a lift, a dark room, exercise room and garage. The state planning board rejected the plan, stating it would be “visually intrusive” and would interfere with a sea view worthy of protection.
The guitarist still hadn’t found what he was looking for almost two decades later when he lost a 14-year battle with planning officials in California to build a series of eco-friendly homes called ‘Leaves in the Wind’ along the Malibu coastline.
He bought the 151-acre site for $9m in 2005 and had been trying unsuccessfully to get approval to build on the land. He took the case as far as the California Supreme Court following objections from environmentalists, including the Sierra Club. However the state’s supreme court ruled in 2019 that it would not hear the case.
Closer to home, fellow musician Van Morrison also made headlines in 2008 when the Belfast singer was involved in a row with his neighbours over his plans to renovate his posh Kilross House property in Dalkey. The High Court granted a temporary injunction to his Sorrento Road neighbours to prevent work being carried out on a shared driveway.
An application submitted to Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council under the name GI Morrison (George Ivan) included plans to widen the driveway and construct a number of boundary walls and install a sun deck on the flat roof of the property.
The council granted permission for the work but then the singer’s former wife Michelle (Rocca) Morrison was involved in a dispute with neighbours Conor and Eileen Kavanagh over what Ms Morrison claimed were home renovations and landscaping work at the Kavanaghs’ Mount Alverno house which interfered with her views of the sea from her home.
The case ultimately wound up at the High Court, which ruled in 2015 that Ms Morrison would have to pay legal costs for both parties after she abandoned the case as it was about to enter its fifth day in court.
The singer, meanwhile, issued a public statement afterwards in which he said he had taken “no part” in the legal action and did not want to be included in future references to the action taken by his wife, from whom he had legally separated in 2013.
Their former neighbour, film-maker Jim Sheridan, sold his old home overlooking Dalkey Island for €2.3m in 2015 after settling a High Court action for compensation against companies for allegedly defective works on the house. He was then embroiled in a dispute with neighbours at another property in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.
He had been granted permission by An Bord Pleanála to build a two-bedroom mews at the property that would be his primary residence. But his neighbours opposed the development, claiming that there was an issue with a new boundary wall and the new building would constitute “inappropriate overdevelopment”.
In the end, An Bord Pleanála sided with the Oscar-nominated director, ruling the proposed development of the Victorian red-brick house, which is a protected structure, would not have an adverse effect on the character or setting of the structure or the area.