Saturday 7 December 2019

Former property of Sean Dunne on sale for €2.25m

Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

Irish poet John Montague borrowed Rathfarnham’s Woodtown Manor as the title for the verse he penned for former resident Morris Graves.

But despite the fame of both artists, and the social standing of later occupant Garech Browne, it is perhaps the property’s connection with broke developer Sean Dunne that lends the most notoriety.

A failed plan by Mr Dunne to turn the house and estate into a 98-bedroom hotel, conference and leisure centre in 2004 – and his subsequent departure from Ireland – meant the house was left to fall into browbeaten disrepair.

The property came under the control of NAMA which is now instructing the sale of the famous but surprisingly private house and grounds.

Camelot Property Management, the financial godsend to property owners, was brought in to scare off vandals and highlight any further structural damage to the property.

Former property of Sean Dunne on sale for €2.25m (Generated thumbnail)

Their guardians currently live in the mansion that was originally bought by Sean Dunne for €1.4m in 1997, together with its substantial 131 acres.

About 35 minutes drive from Dublin’s city centre, this sprawling estate is located above the South Dublin Council 120m line set by the local authority to prevent development in the Dublin mountains.

Estate agents Colliers expect that the 18th century building “will require between €400,000 and €500,000 to make it habitable” and approximately €1m to turn the property into “something amazing”, naturally dependent on individual tastes and standards desired for fit out.

As is reflected in the video footage, the listed property was allowed to fall into a less than pleasing condition, having suffered some vandalism and weather damage before NAMA/Camelot moved in.

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However, all the windows have been replaced following a fire that broke out in a downstairs front room.  And, on a positive note, the ‘canvas’ that prospective buyers can work from is effectively blank.

Three central bays form the original structure of the two storey residence, believed to be built between the early and mid 18th century. 

Perhaps 100 years later, two bay extensions on either side were added to create the manor as it stands today.

Three reception rooms, a very large kitchen and store rooms fill the ground floor. Five bedrooms on the first floor make up the combined 3,500 sq ft that the house stretches to.

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The large bay window in the main reception offers a magnificent panoramic view of Dublin which is where the worth of this estate is difficult to ignore – sights that can be enjoyed to their full capacity when standing on the manor grounds.

Woodtown Lodge, a detached red brick bungalow, is located near the main estate entrance closest to the Rathfarnham Golf Club at Stocking Lane.

This outhouse is badly in need of repair along with a  number of dated farm buildings, barns and stables that span the gardens and beyond.

But again, the potential here is endless – for cultivation, for keeping horses – the grounds can be sculpted to the new owner’s individual preferences.

And the buyer need not take on the estate in its entirety if the 131 acre expanse is somewhat daunting.

Colliers are also offering the option of the purchase of Woodtown Manor with the smaller but nonetheless substantial 89.4 acres, including the formal gardens.

Forty-two acres of land without the house can then be bid on separately.

For further details contact Colliers International (01-6333700).

Irish Independent

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