“I’m sorry, I can’t even offer you a cup of tea,” says Majella O’Donnell apologetically when I arrive at the penthouse apartment in Ballinteer owned by her and her husband, the singer Daniel O’Donnell. Majella has just arrived back from Washington, DC, where she and Daniel were on a short break: her suitcases are in the hall, and she is fighting off jet lag, so we’ll forgive her this time. Daniel has flown on to Canada, where he is starting a tour of Canada and North America; Majella will rest up here, then head back to the couple’s home in Donegal. Maybe I can drop by next time I’m in the county and get that cup of tea.
Number 77 Ballintyre Grove in Ballinteer, Dublin 16, is the couple’s Dublin bolthole, and this bolthole certainly has all the bells and whistles. The fourth-floor penthouse extends to 249sq m (2,680sq ft) and its elevated position gives it a commanding view over the city. The couple stay here whenever they’re in Dublin, but these days they’re spending more time in Donegal, or in their home in Tenerife, so they’ve decided to put the apartment on the market through the Galvin agency, and are asking €760,000 for this fine, luxuriously appointed eyrie in the south Dublin suburbs.
Number 77 is one of just two penthouse apartments in this block near the M50 motorway and a short walk from Marlay Park and Dundrum Town Centre. The floor is securely accessed via a private key in the lift, and as soon as you step into the large entrance hall, you’re in a world of style and elegance that comes from 40 years of musical success, selling more than 10 million records and having a different album in the British charts every year for 25 consecutive years. This pop star’s pied à terre has a BER of C1.
The spacious entrance hall has a featured mirrored wall to add to the sense of light and space, and there’s a guest toilet. The livingroom alone is the size of a small house, stretching to 70sq m, with a private, dual-aspect balcony and stunning views. The triple-glazed windows are dormered, adding a nice, angular aspect to the room, and a grand piano stands proudly in one corner, taking up hardly any space. “Daniel doesn’t play it, but my son-in-law likes to play it when he’s visiting,” says Majella. The hall and livingroom are laid with walnut flooring that feels so solid, you may as well be on the ground floor.
The livingroom adjoins a spacious kitchen/diningroom, beautifully laid with black marbled ceramic tiles, custom-fitted high-gloss kitchen units, polished-stone countertops and a large island. Majella calls this the heart of the apartment. There’s a separate utility room and pantry, plumbed for a washing machine. The central vacuum unit is also situated here. (And don’t worry, if you remember that advert: the gas boiler has been installed by a registered technician, and not by Daniel.)
The agent moves to lead me to the main bedroom, but Majella stops him. “Leave the best until last,” she says, in true showbiz style. So we start with the smallest of the three bedrooms, which is still pretty sizeable, with loads of wardrobe space and an en-suite bathroom. The second bedroom is also en suite, and has no shortage of floor space — not to mention de-luxe comfort. One of the en suites has lovely metallic-style tiles, and one of the baths has wraparound shower doors. The main bedroom lives up to its top billing, with a ginormous bed, huge walk-in wardrobe and a stunning en suite that’s bigger than any family bathroom, with his-and-hers suite, raised bath and separate shower all nicely tiled in black.
The main bedroom also boasts a private balcony with lovely views over the Dublin mountains. You can just about make out the M50 through the lush greenery that surrounds the complex but, thanks to the triple-glazing on the windows, you can’t hear it. For the O’Donnells, the proximity to the M50 is handy for getting to the airport and jetting off to start a US, European or Australian tour, or to head to their house in Tenerife for a well-deserved extended holiday. With Daniel now 60, Majella reveals that he’s planning to cut back on touring and spend more time at home in Donegal and Tenerife, and see more of their family, including Majella’s two grandchildren — Daniel’s step-grandchildren. “September to December is the main time for touring, so he’s just going to tour for four months of the year,” says Majella. “I don’t know what we’ll do now when we come to Dublin, probably stay in a hotel.”
Or they could stay in a B&B, and make another series of Daniel and Majella’s B&B Road Trip while they’re at it. Just a thought.