Elgin marvel with diplomatic credentials for €2.25m

Four-bedroom house in turnkey condition

  • Address: 13 Elgin Road Ballsbridge Dublin 4
  • Price: € 2,250,000
  • Agent: Sherry FitzGerald
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Elgin Road in Ballsbridge, home to more embassies than any other road in Dublin, takes its name from James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin, the colonial administrator and diplomat.

Ironically, his actions during his tenure as British High Commissioner to China in 1860 were the antithesis of diplomacy – when he ordered the destruction of architectural wonder The Old Summer Palace, in retaliation for the execution of 20 British prisoners.

Considered to be the pinnacle of Chinese Palace design and the most beautiful collection of architecture and art in China, it took 4,000 men three days to destroy all the buildings, with much of the looted art ending up in European museums. Victor Hugo described it as a “tremendous unknown masterpiece that all the treasures of our cathedrals could not equal”.

Revenge of this nature may have run in the blood because his father before him, the 7th Earl Elgin, also a diplomat, removed a significant collection of sculptures from the Parthenon in Greece, which he subsequently sold to a British museum.

Known as the Elgin Marbles, they reside in the Duveen Gallery in the British Museum, and, along with the Chinese artefacts looted by his son, they remain a heated topic of debate in the diplomatic circles of the countries involved. UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to return the Elgin Marbles to Greece if he becomes prime minister.

Number 13, Elgin Road, a mid-terrace Victorian property sits directly opposite the American Embassy and next door to the Kenyan office.

Intricate coving

The 280sq m (3,046sq ft) property, purchased in 2005 by the current owners, has been completely restored with the addition of a three-storey return to the rear. Of interest is the intricate coving – all of which has been restored – and the particular attention paid to light, both natural and ambient.

The four-bedroom house has the typical layout of properties of this era, with the kitchen and informal living room at garden level, and formal reception rooms at hall level. 

It is one of only two properties on this section of the road that backs on to Clyde Lane that is not overlooked to the rear, and the house has off-street parking to the front.

The current owners are now Paris based and, until recently, they leased the property to an embassy – naturally enough. They have now placed the house in turnkey condition on the market through Sherry FitzGerald with an asking price of €2.25 million.