Ireland’s most expensive home: Seeking €14m for the finest house on Ailesbury Road

Designed by RM Butler as his private home, number 73 is on an acre of manicured gardens

  • Address: 73 Ailesbury Road Ballsbridge Dublin 4
  • Price: € 14,000,000
  • Agent: Colliers International
 

The allure of Ailesbury and Shrewsbury roads still remains as two of the most prestigious residential addresses in the country. Earlier this year The Irish Times reported on the sale of Lissadell, at 9 Shrewsbury Road, for in excess of €11 million, and despite this sale occurring months ago, the transaction has yet to appear on the Residential Property Price Register.

Now number 73 Ailesbury Road – which, when it was developed in the early part of the 20th century, was the longest straight road in Dublin – has entered the market as potentially the most expensive house in Ireland.

Listed for sale at €14 million, and located on the southern side of the wide leaf-lined avenue, the classical-style house dating from 1920 extends to 443sq m (4,768sq ft) on an acre of manicured gardens, complete with lawns, wooded pathways, terraces, a glazed pavilion and even a putting green.

Entrance hall.
Entrance hall.
Reception room.
Reception room.
Dining room.
Dining room.
Living room.
Living room.

Roses, wisteria, rhododendron, acers and a plethora of plants and shrubs give year-round colour to the gardens, which also benefit from having their own well – supplying groundwater to an automatic irrigation system – so the gardens will be watered if owners are away, or indeed in times of drought.

It was designed by Rudolf Maximilian Butler, the prominent architect, architectural historian, academic and journalist, as his private home. Some of Butler’s well-known designs are Catholic ecclesiastical works, including the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Mulranny, Co Mayo and the Sacred Heart Church in Castletownbere, Co Cork.

A member of the Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland and founding member of the Architectural Association of Ireland, he also edited The Irish Builder and the Technical Journal, eventually becoming professor of architecture at University College Dublin from 1924-1942, when he would have lived at number 73.

In terms of his impact on architecture, Butler is credited with persuading UCD to revive its school of architecture and during his tenure there the number of students rose from three to 100. Under his guidance, a five-year course was initiated in the mid 1930s, and the Royal Institute of British Architects recognised the UCD degree in 1937.

Like the current owners of the house, he shunned all publicity and his practice RM Butler & Co was continued by his son John Geoffrey and daughter Eleanor, later Countess of Wicklow. The RM Butler Architect Collection, which details his work and his research into the renowned English-born architect James Gandon, is part of the University College Cork Library collection since November 2020.

While the Butler-designed house, which is Ber exempt, is generous in terms of size – with six bedrooms and elegant, spacious reception rooms – for those with ambition to have a much larger residence, like many well-heeled appear to do in the Ailesbury and Shrewsbury enclaves, Lawrence and Long Architects have designed a concept for the property, which would give it a whopping 1,300 sq m (14,000 sq ft).

“The house and the garden to this property are unique and quite special. To substantially increase the size of the house for future needs, it is important to retain this special character,” says conservation architect Joe Lawrence, a principal in the practice.

Double bedroom.
Double bedroom.
Bathroom.
Bathroom.
Patio and gardens.
Patio and gardens.
An area of the gardens.
An area of the gardens.

His detailed plans and design include extending the property eastwards while also constructing a new basement. What this will give – besides a much larger home adding an additional 929 sq m (10,000 sq ft) – is “a multifunctional cinema, wine cellar, 20m swimming pool, sauna, steam room and a gym”.

Although the planning process has not been commenced, much of the groundwork has been done by Lawrence on the possibilities of Number 73, which is widely hailed as the finest house on the road. Details are available through selling agent Marcus Magnier of Colliers International, who is handling the sale.

The property appeared in the Irish Times in 2014, when an entry for its sale was listed for €6 million on the Property Price Register. However this appears to have been an interfamilial transfer for the family who have called number 73 home for more than three decades.

Ailesbury Road lies in Dublin 4’s embassy belt with the convenience of being within walking distance of Dublin’s business district and St Stephen’s Green. The villages of Ballsbridge and Donnybrook are a short stroll away with their array of fashionable shops, boutiques and restaurants.  

No doubt the road’s current residents will be keeping a close eye on the sale.