Ten beds, eight baths, one big refurb bill: Foxrock mansion ready for multimillion euro investment

For sale for €1.85m, Setauket, off Torquay Road in the south Dublin village, could cost the new owner more than €2.5m to renovate or rebuild

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Address: Setauket, 6 The Birches, Torquay Road, Foxrock, Dublin 18
Price: €1,850,000
Agent: Galvin Property

Back when it was first developed, in the 1980s, sites in The Birches, off Torquay Road in Foxrock, were required to construct substantial two-storey homes separating neighbours by granite boundary walls.

Soon the exclusive enclave in this south Dublin village became a who’s who of high-ranking business figures, including Johnny Ronan, Paddy McKillen, David Doyle, Maurice Pratt, Seán Dunne and Patrick Doran. Dunne, an early investor in the development, sold his property, Woodbury, for €2.9 million to Doran when he left Foxrock for Ouragh, on Shrewsbury Road in Dublin 4. Doran subsequently sold Woodbury in 2020 for €3.05 million and also moved to one of the best sites on Shrewsbury Road, to the property formerly known as Fintragh, which they purchased for €8.45 million, before rebuilding the house with an underground cinema and gym.

Another pile has just come to the market in the Foxrock location: Setauket, the former home of the late Noel Cassidy, a well-known publican, and his wife, Ann. The couple, who had presented former US president Bill Clinton with gifts during his visit to Ireland in 1995, received a letter from the Oval Office, stating: “Hillary and I were delighted to spend some time with you during our visit to Dublin.”

But times became difficult after Noel died. Back in 2010, Ann declared the mortgage on her home in Foxrock was €6 million. She told Judge Jacqueline Linnane her home was in danger of being repossessed after seeking to resist an application to complete the purchase of an apartment at Kilpatrick House in Spencer Dock on the North Wall, a development by her former neighbour Johnny Ronan.


Some have remarked that Setauket resembles the Gothic-revival mansion and home of the millionaire novelist Harlan Thrombey in Knives Out, the 2019 film starring Daniel Craig. But the turrets are really where the similarity ends. Time has not been kind to the castellated property. Despite extending to a whopping 894sq m (9,624sq ft), with 10 bedrooms and eight bathrooms, it requires significant work to bring it back to a warm family home.

While it is indeed striking, with Gothic-style windows and lots of panelling, there is huge potential for development of the 0.75-acre site itself, which is currently configured with that all-important south-facing rear garden and ample off-street parking. Developers may well look at new-build potential, as a renovation could be the more expensive option. The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland’s house-rebuild calculator gives a figure of in excess of €2.5 million to refurbish/rebuild the property, and that does not include the old swimming pool and the fact that replacement Gothic-style windows will be costly.

And, to be honest, it may not be to everyone’s taste as there is a mix of styles, and the conservatory looks as if it would be better if razed.

In terms of price, estate agent James Galvin of Galvin Property has listed the pile at €1.85 million. Not far away, in the same enclave that in its day was a bit of a Wisteria Lane for developers, the publicly listed builder Glenveagh Properties was seeking €4.75 million for a 1.6 acre site in 2021. It had full planning permission for the construction of 28 apartments, with a later revised development of 24 units (10 houses, seven duplex and seven apartments) prepared by the architect Dermot Bannon.

To build or not to build? That will be the question regarding the fate of Setauket, which appears to take its name from the hamlet in Long Island, New York; a place like the Birches, it is characterised by spacious, one-off high-priced family homes.

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about property, fine arts, antiques and collectables