From the moment it was built, it was hailed as the house with the go-faster stripes. Outdoor pool linking to indoor lagoon. Tick. Party-size Jacuzzi with views across Dublin Bay. Tick. Cinema room. Tick. But Eddie Irvine’s lavish home, on Sorrento Road, in Dalkey, never got beyond the starting grid.
The former Formula One driver, and Ireland's one-time poster boy playboy millionaire, built this ultramodern 511sq m (5,500sq ft) bachelor pad in the noughties after he purchased a small cottage on the half-acre site from businessman Harry Crosbie for €260,000, in 1993.
Once complete, he lived in it for about 10 minutes before placing it on the market, in 2003, with a €6.5 million asking price. At the time houses in the area were selling like hot cakes (financiers, no doubt) and despite the selling agent's optimistic suggestion on the brochure literature that the modestly named Kilross Lodge was "possibly Dublin's most dramatic residence", potential buyers weren't convinced.
A year later reports indicated businessman Dave Cullen had agreed to buy the five-bed plus guest/staff cottage for €5 million, but the deal never went through. Recently it was rented to tenants for about €7,000 a month. Now it’s back on the market, this time with a new name – Ischia – and a new asking price of €4 million.
Of course we’re all older and wiser now, and while the building’s architectural curves and cladding bring a dash of Miami elan to the hills of Killiney, on a more practical note there’s no garden, and it’s accessed via a driveway shared with Monte Averno next door and another house further along the hilly driveway. Suitable for children? It’s a death trap.
The covered pool is strewn with autumn leaves fallen from the dense foliage that has taken on a life of its own along the property boundary. Inside the beds are stripped bare and the games room/bar is empty save for the pendant lights that at some point illuminated a snooker table. The indoor lagoon pool that connects under glass to the pool outside looks murky and forlorn. The playboy playhouse is closed for business.
But if you dared to dream, and in the right light – and state of solvency – this is a property worth loving. For a start it’s completely different to anything else on offer in the area, says selling agent Simon Ensor of Sherry FitzGerald. And it’s an example of great architectural design. At the time, architect Joe Kennedy of Smith & Kennedy expressed surprise that the planning process went so smoothly for a house of such scale on a small site. But he wasn’t complaining and maximised every inch.
The three-storey copper-clad rounded entrance, glass walls and timber decking combine to create a maritime feel and the double-door entrance brings to mind a ship’s prow. Inside, no expense has been spared, from the Italian Elan Tissuant streamlined kitchen to the full-length corner windows and American walnut flooring.
Upstairs, a huge livingroom takes in the views over Killiney Bay to Bray Head. Off this, a small study/viewing tower, has some of the best views in the four-and-a-half-storey house.
The master bedroom is a real highlight, again taking in the same southerly sea views. It continues the nautical theme with a curved panelled timber wall and glazed floor panels at the foot of the bed providing views to the pool below. Sliding patio doors lead to a sun deck – because of course the sun will always be shining. The bathroom en suite is unlike any other. A giant Jacuzzi for four sits in the bay window, and, if modesty prevails, a Priva-lite turns the glass opaque at the flick of a switch. A spiral staircase from here leads to a sauna and – now empty – plunge pool.
Despite its statement design, a tall bank of trees completely obscures the property from view from Sorrento Road, an exclusive area known for more traditional period homes. It could be more than a playboy pitstop.