Sale terms finally agreed on historic Marley Grange house

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LOOKS like the famous Marley Grange house in Rathfarnham is to get a new lease of life after being destroyed by fire almost two years ago.

Estate agents Colliers have apparently agreed sale terms on the 10-bedroom house, which is acknowledged to be one of the few examples of late Victorian gothic revival architecture in Ireland.

Colliers are understood to have settled for a price close to €2.5 million for the listed building and its 12.4 acres of woodland next to Marley Park, which are owned by the property developer and charity founder Niall Mellon.

The house was unoccupied and uninsured when it was set ablaze in July, 2010. All that remain of the imposing cut-stone, two-storey, high-roofed structure dating from the 1870s are the walls.

However, because of its architectural and historical significance, the planners are anxious to have it restored to its former glory – a challenging project, which one expert says could cost anything from €1.5 million to €2 million.

Mellon bought Marley Grange from the British Embassy in 2008 after it dropped plans to use it as its ambassadorial residence. The embassy had previously sold its long term residence Glencairn and its 34-acre grounds in Sandyford in 1999 for security reasons.

The entire property was acquired by Michael Cotter of Park Developments for €35.6 million. Once the security climate improved with the signing of the Belfast Agreement, the British Foreign Office in London was on the blower wanting to buy back Glencairn, without its substantial grounds. Cotter was happy to oblige . . . for a price.

A British House of Foreign Affairs Committee later complained the U-turn on Glencairn resulted in the loss of millions of pounds to the British taxpayer. Tut, tut . . .

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