Tuesday 25 June 2019

This Celtic Tiger-era Malahide mansion offers size, luxury and privacy with a few celebrity neighbours for €2.4m

Celtic Tiger-era Malahide mansion offers size, luxury and privacy, writes Gabrielle Monaghan

The front of 17 Abington
The front of 17 Abington
The kitchen
Dining room/conservatory
The master bedroom
The centrally set staircase
One of three reception rooms

Gabrielle Monaghan

Almost 20 years ago, as the Celtic Tiger roared, Abington was launched as a new concept in gated luxury living. Millionaires' Row, as Abington came to be dubbed, would be a place where celebrities and Ireland's newly-moneyed classes could live alongside each other in vast homes, cocooned from the prying eyes of the paparazzi.

This style of a ready-made affluent community was partly inspired by the exclusive housing developments then popular in the south of England. Indeed, developer Parkway Properties brought in an English firm of architects, Melville Dunbar Associates, to implement the concept.

These architects toured Dublin suburbs, taking notes of their period architectural features, before coming up with a scheme of Georgian and Victorian-style houses, each one set on half-acre landscaped gardens and linked by wide, curving roads.

In return for tags of between €2m and €4m - then-record prices for a new estate - the well-heeled buyers were rewarded with pools, home cinemas, Jacuzzis, games rooms and thousands of square footage.

The kitchen
The kitchen

The lavish homes attracted celebrities such as Boyzone star Ronan Keating, Georgina Ahern and her Westlife star husband Nicky Byrne and later, footballer Robbie Keane.

Then these trophy homes became synonymous with Ireland's boom and bust: Parkway was headed by John McCabe Snr, one of the Maple 10 investors who bought a 10pc stake in Anglo Irish Bank from Sean Quinn in 2008 in a desperate attempt to stave off the institution's collapse. McCabe himself was pursued by Nama, which even secured a receiver to his wife's jewellery, including a diamond ring said to be "the size of a Brussels sprout".

No 20 Abington, which had been owned by former Anglo Irish boss David Drumm, was sold after a US bankruptcy trustee recovered his assets. The banker was jailed for six years last year for his role in a fraud conspiracy.

Since the recovery, demand has pushed up for homes here. About half of the 50 homes at Abington's 43-acre wooded site were built by Parkway, and the remainder were houses commissioned by the owners themselves on plots purchased from Parkway.

No 17 Abington, which is going on the market for the first time, falls into the latter category. The six-bed mansion, which was completed in 2001, is up for sale because the vendors' children have flown the nest.

The property is set on about two-thirds of an acre of grounds, which include a double garage and a paved driveway with space for at least five cars. Accessed by electric gates, it has 4,865 sq ft of living space spread across three floors.

One of three reception rooms
One of three reception rooms

The double-fronted house is mock-Georgian in style, with its grand proportions, hipped roof, stringcourse, multi-paned timber sash windows from Rationel, two columns flanking the entryway, and iron railings to the boundaries.

There is a contemporary version of a fanlight over the sage-green front door. Inside, there is wood panelling and Crema Marfil floor tiles to the entrance porch and to the reception hall. The star of the latter space is a hardwood central staircase that leads to a gallery-style landing.

No 17 has four reception rooms, three of which have fireplaces, and a conservatory on the ground floor, so the new owner won't be stuck for entertaining space. And if overnight guests can't be accommodated in one of the six en-suite bedrooms, there is studio accommodation above the double garage.

David Blanc, the property's selling agent at Sherry FitzGerald Blanc, says No 17 has a more practical layout than other mansions. "Quite often larger properties have huge hallways and a lot of wasted space, but the flow of this house is around the family and entertaining, so it works perfectly."

Its dual-aspect drawing room commands views of both the front and rear gardens. Double French doors lead from this space to the side conservatory, which is currently used as a playroom and has its own set of French doors to the back garden.

Unlike most of the reception rooms, which have Crema Marfil flooring tiling, the formal dining room has teak floors from Junckers. This room, which is fitted with wood panelling and coving, has a bay window with glazed double doors opening onto the rear garden.

Dining room/conservatory
Dining room/conservatory

The front sitting room overlooks the front garden, while the family room has three sets of French doors opening to a side garden and a patio. This room is beside the kitchen, which has built-in Miele and Neff appliances, built-in Alno units, a breakfast counter, and a separate utility room, though the new owners may want to freshen up the kitchen units and countertops.

The bathroom to the master suite on the first floor has already been given an overhaul, with new tiling, his-and-hers basins with Grohe taps, a Jacuzzi bath and a separate shower. The master bedroom also has a dressing room with floor-to-ceiling wardrobes, as well as double doors leading to a terrace enclosed by wrought-iron balustrades.

The first floor is also home to three further bedrooms, a study and a Tylo sauna. Two of the bedrooms on this level share a Jack-and-Jill bathroom that has been modernised with double wash basins, Grohe taps, and granite shelving.

If the new owner has teenagers, they will especially appreciate the two en-suite bedrooms at the upper level: a spiral staircase from the first-floor landing leads to the dormer bedrooms.

No 17 was designed to make the outdoor space a natural extension to the reception rooms. The patio and barbecue area overlook a rear lawn with a water feature, colourful shrubbery, and an enclosed children's play area. All the gardens are bounded by mature trees and hedgerows, lending an air of privacy.

The eventual purchaser of No 17 Abington will likely be more low-key than the development's boom-era purchasers. "Expats coming home from abroad are the prime market these days," Blanc says.

No 17 Abington has an asking price of €2.395m and is selling through Sherry FitzGerald Blanc.

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