Augustinians to sell Orlagh retreat in Rathfarnham for €2.5 million

Georgian mansion on about 100 acres has potential as a hotel or conference centre


A substantial retreat centre on almost 100 acres at Old Court Road in Rathfarnham, Dublin 16, is to be offered for sale at €2.5 million. Estate agent GVA Donal O Buachalla is to handle the sale of the Georgian mansion, Orlagh, and its extensive parklands on Gunny Hill for the Augustinian order, which acquired it in 1872 for use as a novitiate and since 1997 has been using it as a retreat and conference centre.

The order says that, after much consideration, it has decided to sell Orlagh Retreat Centre as part of an overall rationalisation of its facilities. “Regretfully we are no longer in a position to maintain this historic property, which was not being used to its full capacity for many years. We, not unlike other religious communities, are also experiencing a major reduction in the personnel available to manage such centres – and this was also a factor in making this difficult decision.”

Orlagh is set deep in a woodland setting on the south side of Gunny Hill at the junction with Ballycullen Road and Old Court Road, about 12km southwest of Dublin city centre.

Spectacular views

The estate offers spectacular views over Dublin city as far as Howth Head. The house is particularly spacious, with a floor area of 1,608sq m (17,308sq ft), including 31 bedrooms, an oratory, a drawingroom and three interconnecting rooms used for entertaining and dining.

An attractive timber-framed glazed cloister connects the period property to two modern 1960s extensions to the rear.

Lisa McInerney, of GVA, says the buildings are well suited to their existing use as a retreat centre; alternatively, subject to planning permission, they could be converted for other purposes, possibly becoming a hotel, a leisure or conference centre, a healthcare facility, a wedding venue, an educational institution, a large estate home or a set of residential units.

The grounds around Orlagh have a number of notable leisure facilities, including a walled garden, streams and tree-linked walking trails, a farmyard, a ball alley and outdoor swimming pool, all in need of upgrading.

The lands extend to 30 hectares (98.94 acres) and, according to GVA, are located “on the edge of suburbia”with future development potential subject to rezoning.

The sale might well attract an investor prepared to sell on the large period house while retaining the land bank, on the assumption that it will in due course be rezoned for development.

GVA is to offer the estate for sale in one or two lots. Apart from the entire property, a small parcel of land, 5.26 hectares (13 acres), fronting on to Old Court Road, will also be offered for sale separately. This would leave the balance of the estate (85.84 acres) and the house being available as a single lot.