Great Ailesbury garden surprise for €2.45m

The garden of the detached four-bed was a labour of love for its owner

  • Address: Livadia Lodge, 30 Ailesbury Drive, Donnybrook, Dublin 4
  • Price: € 2,450,000
  • Agent: Lisney
This article is 4 months old

High walls and tall trees on a corner site in Donnybrook hide a surprising property – a large house with a relatively small but intensively cultivated garden which includes a Japanese-style bridge and ponds with giant colourful koi fish.

Opthalmic surgeon Dr Frank Lavery and his wife, Svetlana, built their house on the corner of Ailesbury Drive/Ailesbury Grove off Ailesbury Road 15 years ago, incorporating a variety of unusual features: these include a breakfast room at the corner of the house with floor-to-ceiling windows that can be turned opaque at the flick of a switch and, upstairs, a Jacuzzi room with a Jacuzzi bath and shower/steam room.

The 330sq m (3,552sq ft) detached four-bed is now for sale for €2.45 million through Lisney. The Ailesbury address commands high prices: Ailesbury Drive is just off the embassy belt that is Ailesbury Road, with the Argentinian embassy just down the road. The entrance to Old Belvedere rugby club’s grounds is around the corner.

The garden of Livadia Lodge, as it is named, was a labour of love for Lavery, and features in this month’s Irish Garden magazine where it’s described as having “a secret feast of plants”.

It wraps around three sides of the house, with a lawn, side patio, the two ponds and a narrow moat beside an extensive rockery filled with a rich variety of Alpine –and many other – plants. A lifelong gardener who grew up in Sorrento House in Dalkey, Lavery brought some of his plants from his former garden: he points to an azalea that’s 45 years old.

The floor-to-ceiling windows take advantage of the garden.
The floor-to-ceiling windows take advantage of the garden.
One of the bedrooms.
One of the bedrooms.

It’s obviously a garden that demands a lot of attention and Lavery is aware that new owners might want to take out the rockery. However, he plans to leave the black, white and orange koi unless new owners don’t want them, in which case he has a friend who will take them.


Inside, there’s a long drawing room through double doors – oak, like those in the rest of the house – on the left of the front hall and a dining room through double doors on the right. This opens through a wide arch into the breakfast room with the floor-to-ceiling windows looking onto the garden, and curves around to a bright kitchen. The whole space is floored with pale ceramic tiles; the U-shaped kitchen has white units and black polished granite countertops.

A basement fitted out as a sitting room is surprisingly bright, with a roof window at one end; there’s a large utility room and a toilet off it.

Upstairs, there are three double bedrooms on the first floor, two with en suites, and all with fitted wardrobes. One is fitted out as a study; another has double doors to Svetlana’s bright artist’s studio. There’s a fully tiled family bathroom as well as the Jacuzzi room, which could be a fourth bedroom, the agent suggests.

The main bedroom on the top floor has a wall of mirrored wardrobes behind the bed, a dressing room and a separate fully tiled en suite. A last surprise is the starlight ceiling panel of fibre-optic lights in a recessed panel over the bed.