Monday, 13 February 2012

GORSE HILL - Vico Road, Killiney

© Edelmiro Garcia

Gorse Hill- one of the finest properties in all of 'Bel Eire' sitting on c. 1.25 acres. Originally built c. 1926, the house comprised of 3 reception rooms, breakfast room, 3 bedrooms and a double garage. The first residents that I can identify are Mr. and Mrs. Peter Ashe, who resided there definitely during the year 1980 and presumably a long time before and after then also. The house was then listed for auction in 1985, presumably by the Ashe family. The listing didn't cause much of a stir at the time, the Celtic Tiger hadn't reared its head yet. In 1997, all that changed when it was listed for auction again. The house sold for £1.055m, which was actually not bad value given prices achieved for other nearby properties, but was still £400k over the guide and £145k over the reserve. The buyer was solicitor Brian O' Donnell, former partner at William Fry Solicitors. As many of you know, Mr O'Donnell and his wife's taste for expensive property didn't stop on Vico Road, as they amassed landmark buildings around the world and a supposed combined debt of hundreds of millions of euros. At first, the redevelopment of the modest property that sat on the Vico Road site was troublesome. They were denied planning permission to demolish Gorse Hill due to the extremely conservationist attitude towards development of Vico Road sites fronting onto the DART/Sea. As you can see from the following satellite pictures, they got planning eventually for this approx 9,000sqft mansion, with features such as an indoor gym and sauna:

Palatial 'Gorse Hill' with pool house, swimming pool, tennis court, etc.
Malibu-esque views with waves breaking 
The house is now perfection, it embodies all aspects of what an Estate should be with every possibly amenity, unless you're picky and require a heliport and jetty. Honestly, the O'Donnells deserve an award for this development, not eviction notices. It's literally perfect and definitely one of my top ten favorite houses in Dublin.

UPDATE 27/03/2012:
Today, the Irish Times, Irish Independent and RTE have all reported that the Celtic Tiger 'poster couple', Mr Brian O'Donnell and Dr. Mary Pat O'Donnell, declared bankruptcy today in London. The Independent makes reference directly to Gorse Hill and the O'Donnell's statements regarding the property:
"The house was valued at €30m at the height of the boom, but the O’Donnells said in their statement of affairs that it was now worth €6m to €7m."
Their family home, Gorse Hill, is held in the 'Vico Capital' company, which is beneficially owned by the O'Donnell's four children, according to the Irish Times. Seemingly the beneficiaries plan on challenging the guarantees to the bank, also according to the Irish Times.

Solicitors from Arthur Cox law firm sent in by Bank of Ireland to catalogue contents of Gorse Hill (30/04/2012) via Irish Times

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