Marcus Evans Group | Worldwide Headquarters | American Offices | Latin America | European Offices | African / Asian Offices

€43m knocked off Ireland’s most expensive house

It was Ireland’s most expensive house, sold at the height of the Celtic Tiger boom for an eye-popping €58m, now it’s on sale for just €15m

When the hammer came down on this seven-bedroom Edwardian red-brick house on Shrewsbury Road in Dublin back in 2005, a new record for the world’s most expensive house (per square foot) was set.

The 4,000 sq ft Tudor-style house, named Walford, had been advertised for €35m (£30.5m) but came out the other end of the auction having relieved its new owner of €58m.

Property in Dublin had soared to such insane heights on the back of cheap credit and greedy borrowers that it had become more expensive than New York, London and Paris.

Shrewsbury Road is a pleasant, tree-lined avenue in the middle of embassy-belt Dublin. It was once ranked as the sixth most expensive street in the world, ahead of Beverly Hills’ North Carolwood Drive and St Moritz’s ritzy Via Suvretta.

Now, in what will give the Irish public a huge sense of schadenfreude, the house is on sale for €15m – a loss of €43m for the owners, or more likely their banks. And it needs a total refurb.

After lying empty for the last six years, the auctioneers – Lisney and Savills – have revealed that the 18th century marble fireplaces have been stolen, the floors are bare and, according to Frank McDonald in today’s Irish Times, the garden is “so devoid” of planting that it “looks like a ploughed field”.

The Irish Times leads with the story in its property section today with three pictures of a rather dilapidated current interior.

The spectacular collapse in price illustrates the madness of the Celtic Tiger years. The house was not bought as a pleasant place to live for the buyers but because of its development potential.

The Irish remember only too well how four or five years ago, every scrap of land – from local petrol stations to farmer’s fields – had “development potential”. And naturally this type of “houses for all, everywhere” planning policy meant this included the 1.5 acre garden at Walford.

Planning permission was given for two houses in the grounds – but the owners sought to build no fewer than nine houses to the rear of the residence, with underground parking for each property.

The sale of Walford is an admission of defeat for the owner who has never been officially named but is widely thought to be Gayle Killelea, the journalist-turned-lawyer wife of developer Seán Dunne, dubbed the “baron of Ballsbridge”.

Dunne was one of the most colourful characters in the Celtic Tiger – he paid record prices for the Jurys and Berkeley Court hotels just down the road from Walford in the heart of leafy Ballsbridge – with a view to knocking them down and creating a mini-Manhattan with a 37-storey “diamond-cut” tower, embassy block and large-scale retail.

Planning permission for this was also denied and the hotels are languishing, awaiting redevelopment and, presumably, the next Celtic Tiger. © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds