Boyzone was at the peak of its success in the late 1990s when Keith Duffy was looking to move into the Rolestown area of north county Dublin. Keith and his wife Lisa had been renting close to Lisa's mum in Glasnevin, where she lived with baby son Jay while Keith was touring.
“I just had to be near the airport,” Keith says. “We were doing so much flying around the world at that stage, and the real killer is the short leg second flight back to Dublin from London, or Paris or Amsterdam, when you just want to be in your bed.”
Tired of being forced to pay a “rock star” premium every time he put his hand in his pocket, Duffy decided to go incognito (wearing shades and a baseball cap in a blacked-out BMW) with a friend to check out a small development, Killossery. The builder was on site as they drove up. When Duffy’s friend enquired about availability, he was curtly told all the units had been sold.
Disappointed, Keith decided to approach the builder himself. Looking up, the builder laughed and said: “Oh, it’s you. I thought you were a drug dealer looking to buy here. Yeah, we’ve still got a few for sale.”
The Duffys settled in and lived happily in Kilossery until about 2004. Then McInerney builders undertook a luxury country club development at nearby Roganstown, a couple of miles from Swords and Dublin Airport. The Christy O’Connor jnr-designed golf course, with its extensive leisure and sports facilities, proved a big draw.
The Duffys bought one of the 20 detached four-to-five-bed houses in the grounds of Roganstown House for about €1 million. Situated on two-thirds of an acre (they later bought an adjoining third of an acre), number 7 has preserved mature trees and hedgerows, and the gardens have been extensively landscaped with water features, bridges and shrubberies.
Number 7 backs on to the third hole of the golf course, and Lisa’s dad occasionally likes to brings in a haul of wayward golf balls from the garden.
It's been an ideal location for the Duffys, located about 20 minutes on the back roads to family in Glasnevin and Donaghmede, where Keith is from. It's also very close to Malahide and Abington, where Ronan and Yvonne Keating lived for many years.
Roganstown and Abington, in fact, have their similarities, though the Duffy spread is on a slightly less supersized scale. Number 7 is also tucked away behind electric gates on substantial grounds at the end of a cul-de-sac.
The Duffys are now moving on, though not far. Keith is embarking on his first property investment venture here in partnership with a friend, Martin Hannon of Greyfield Developments, in a new scheme, Dooroge Woods, a few miles up the road in Ballyboughal.
One of the perks is that Keith and Lisa have chosen their own site and will tailor the property to their requirements. It won’t be bigger: this house is 3,750 sq ft, and with two teenage children they don’t need more room. But the garden will definitely be smaller. Keith hasn’t developed green fingers in the intervening period, but he says he had a lot of fun with the tractor mower for a while.
Inside, it’s clear that number 7 is a much-loved home – family photos are everywhere. The ground floor receptions open off a lovely airy double height hallway along solid Canadian Maplewood floors and flow easily between each other and out to the garden.
Lisa has enjoyed decorating the home, which is for sale through Steven Blanc of Sherry FitzGerald Blanc for €1.3million. Her influences include design stalwarts such as Laura Ashley in one of the floral-themed receptions, while a Minnie Peters Indonesian darkwood style pervades the formal lounge area.
It’s clear all the living is done in the lovely L-shaped space that takes in the dining area, the Cherrywood kitchen with granite countertops and huge American-style fridge, and the familyroom/sunroom off the kitchen.
Upstairs there are four double bedrooms, all with en suite. (There is a box room downstairs that could work as a small fifth bedroom or study. It is currently in use as Lisa’s dressing room/walk-in wardrobe.)
“That’s one of the things I’m really looking forward to in the new house – a master bedroom with my own dressingroom off it and a small breakout seating area [inspired by Galway’s G Hotel], with a fire set into the wall and a TV above,” says Lisa.
This house is relatively low on celebrity indulgences, though a discreet pop-up television is built into the cabinetry at the end of their bed, and another tv is set into the wall at the foot of the bath. There’s also a small steam room off the en suite. The celebrity playhouse stuff has mainly been reserved for a converted garage, separate to the main house, which Keith says had hardly been built (with his own enjoyment in mind) when Jay and his pals took it over.
With a pool table at its heart and fitted corner bar bearing the inscription "Duffy's Bar", the walls are adorned with jerseys signed by Ronaldo, Tevez, McIlroy . . . and Duff. A blown up Social & Personal magazine cover depicting a very glamorous Lisa stands against one wall; a signed Blizzards guitar sits in another corner.
Boyzone has just completed a successful tour of southeast Asia. Keith says they were as surprised as anyone to need police escorts from the airport – "It was like being famous all over again". Back at home Lisa retains her part-time job with designer Louise Kennedy, for whom she has worked for 11 years following a chance meeting at a charity dinner.
After Jay and Mia complete their Leaving and Junior Certs, the family will join Keith for some dates on the UK leg of the tour. It’s a busy household.
Moving to London in a few years, when the children have finished their schooling, wouldn’t be ruled out. Most of Keith’s work originates there, and Jay plans to embark on an acting career. Plenty of family and friends are there as well.
Number 7 Roganstown is more than ready for new owners. Keith will avow to this, having just filled three skips in a massive clearout (“I couldn’t wait to get back to work”), while a new chapter awaits the Duffys in Ballyboughal.