If ever there was a house in Dublin from which to survey the entire city, it would be Bayview House on Howth’s Carrickbrack Road.
It is set on 1.25 acres of landscaped gardens, and the views are simply jaw-dropping. The panorama takes in the city from Sandymount all the way across to the golf links at Portmarnock. Such is the elevation that it’s possible to take in the entire expanse of Dollymount Strand, where kite surfers appear as just dots on the landscape.
It is from here that one of Ireland's most prolific and best-known property developers, Gerry Gannon aka "the man in the hat" has surveyed his adopted city since 1992, when he and his wife Margaret built Bayview as their family home.
Starting off as a small builder, he developed Gannon Homes into one of the largest property development companies in Ireland, responsible for the construction of more than 10,000 homes in the capital alone.
During the recession and subsequent collapse of the property market, Gannon’s substantial loans fell under the control of Nama, and a long, slow rehabilitation ensued. Latterly the agency has helped bankroll some of Gannon’s developments – he was among the first to re-enter the hugely under-supplied new homes market.
The Millers Glen development in Swords hit the headlines in 2014 when buyers camped out waiting for the release of houses – such was the pent-up demand for houses.
Gannon Homes’ latest scheme at The Papermill in Clonskeagh will see 98 high-end apartments launch later this year, and there are also schemes under way in Gorey, Co Wexford and Kinsale, Co Cork.
The Gannons are trading down from their vast home, which runs to 824sq m (8,867sq ft) of floor space over three levels, but staying locally as Howth has been their home for almost three decades.
The property – a litte dated now from a decor perspective – has six large bedrooms. The view from the main bedroom encompasses the sweep of Dublin bay and features a high-end dressingroom alongside a generous ensuite.
Bayview seems to have been designed with entertaining in mind, as the reception rooms are enormous and would easily cater for 100-plus guests.
Much was made of the aspect during the design process, so the house faces south, ensuring that even in winter, the sun room – which spills out onto a barbeque terrace – is warm. This and a glazed balcony provide a veritable hothouse for tropical plants.
At garden level there is a huge livingroom – complete with a fully functioning bar – which in turn opens into the indoor swimming-pool. Set in a glazed atrium, the pool, which is in excellent condition, also comes with a sauna and shower room.
The gardens, which are professionally landscaped and maintained, lie on various levels and retain old sycamores and copper beech, which have grown here for over a century.
The entire driveway is paved with maintenance-free cobblelock and has a car port.
While new owners will want to update the house in parts – the bespoke kitchen, despite having solid carcasses with high-end appliances, feels a bit dark in comparison to the views, but it is the views that will sell the aptly named Bayview House, which is on the market through Knight Frank and JB Kelly with an asking price of €2.95 million.