Rich and famous make their homes in Dalkey

 

It's not a place that would immediately spring to mind when listing off the playgrounds of the rich and famous. St Tropez, Beverly Hills, the Virgin Islands . . . Dalkey? Yet in recent years more and more celebrities, of both the home-grown and international varieties, have been snapping up properties in the Dalkey-Killiney area. Musicians seem particularly fond of the Dalkey area. Just think what the parish choir would be like if attendance were compulsory for residents.

Two U2 boys, Bono and The Edge, live in Dalkey, with Bono notoriously buying the gate lodge as well as the main house when he bought Temple Hill, his stunning place on the Vico Road.

Jim Kerr of Simple Minds, who used to rent Cliff House in Killiney, bought it outright when it came up for sale about two years ago, while singer Lisa Stansfield bought her place, Mount Henry, in Dalkey, four or five years ago. Enya, who fell for Ayesha Castle but never moved in, lives in an apartment in the area nonetheless.

Where there are celebs, there's money, and where there's money, there are fast cars. However, in Dalkey they tend to be faster than most, as there's a brace of racing car drivers in residence.

Damon Hill and his wife, Georgie, were the first to move in when they bought their gorgeous period house on Killiney Hill Road, and their example was shortly followed by Formula 1 driver Eddie Irvine, who plumped for Kilross Cottage overlooking Sorrento Terrace.

Martin Birrane, the Irish-born but London-based owner of Mondello Park, also lives locally in his place, Kenah House. Film director Neil Jordan is another famous Dalkeyite. He's on the multi-million-pound Sorrento Terrace, as is property developer Robin Power and his wife, Michelle Kavanagh.

TV personality Gloria Hunniford also fell for Dalkey's charms, buying an apartment in the prestigious Bartra development, while playwright Hugh Leonard and best-selling novelist Maeve Binchy represent both the literary side of the Dalkey crew and some of Dalkey's more established residents.

Pierce Brosnan, Mel Gibson and, more recently, actor Frances McDormand and her husband, director Joel Coen, have all rented in the area.

Business folk have also flocked to the area. Gavin O'Reilly and his wife, Alison Doody, bought up Bartra House for £2.9 million two years ago; businessman Fonzie O'Mara took over Renata Coleman's place, Monte Alverno on Sorrento Road, when she moved to Humewood Castle, and solicitor Gerald Kean and his wife, Clodagh, and promoter Denis Desmond and his wife, Caroline, live in adjoining castellated houses on Strand Road.