One of the most expensive homes to come on the Dublin market in recent years has been sold for €8 million. Deepwell, the former Blackrock family home of the late John Reihill, of Tedcastle Oil, was placed for sale in May 2013 with a €10 million price tag. The asking price, considered a little bullish in the recovering market, raised many eyebrows at the time, but The Irish Times has learned contracts were signed late last week for a sum just over €8 million.
The buyers are understood to be an overseas couple with a young family who intend to retain the house for use as a private residence. It was sold by Ronan O’Hara of agents Sherry FitzGerald. The €8 million sum is easily the highest achieved since the property downturn for a Dublin suburban home. The 20 per cent discount on the asking price reflects a narrowing of the gap between asking prices and realised prices for houses at the upper end of the market.
The striking pink Victorian house with its terracotta walls, Italianate gardens, swimming pool and tennis court, dominates the view from the Dart as it enters and leaves Blackrock station next door.
Located on a site of just under three acres with views over Dublin Bay to Howth, the former Guinness house was built originally as a country home in the city in the 1850s. Its obvious potential as a development site floundered after local objections a number of years ago to efforts by John Reihill to rezone the site as commercial.
Unusually for such an exclusive home, Deepwell has long been open to the public at regular intervals for tours over the summer months as a condition of a Section 482 tax concession claimed by the Reihills. Whether the new owners will continue to avail of the tax break and its requirements is not yet known. Already they face an annual property tax bill of €19,300.
The Reihill family lived at Deepwell, which is tucked behind electronic gates off Blackrock’s main thoroughfare, for 70 years and in that time decorated the 534sq m (5,748sq ft) house to a very high standard.
While some furnishings are believed to be included in the sale price (which includes a separate 1000sq ft architect designed staff accommodation), it's unlikely the roll-call of fine art works that graced the walls of Deepwell will be included. They included paintings by Jack B Yeats and Aloysius O'Kelly, Louis le Brocquy tapestries and a Sean O'Sullivan portrait.
Deepwell is the second most expensive house to come on the Dublin market in recent years, surpassed only by No 1 Sorrento Terrace, the Dalkey home of businessman Terry Coleman which came on the market last October with a €12 million asking price.
While both prices seem eye-watering to ordinary folk, observers would say that Sorrento Terrace at least benefits from unrivalled views of Dublin Bay on three sides and a root and branch refurbishment and extension in recent years estimated to have cost at least €13 million.
Deepwell is in walk-in condition, though the decor is a little dated. The fine reception rooms are a highlight, but the bedrooms are arranged over two levels, as are two narrow kitchens which seems a little impractical.
These are not compatible with the contemporary preference for open-plan kitchen living, though the buyers presumably have a little extra budget to customise the house for their needs.
Those who regard Deepwell as one of Dublin’s finest estate homes, can always turn their attentions towards the more affordable Lios an Uisce, a stone’s throw away on the other side of Blackrock park. It may not be as grand, but it’s a handsome, historic home with great potential and arguably better uninterrupted views across Dublin Bay. All for a far more affordable €3.2 million.