A new house in Killiney offers the chance of living alongside the countrys most private neighbour, writes Kathy Foley
Sick of nosy neighbours? Sick of noisy neighbours? Got a spare €2.25m? View Holloa, a new house on Victoria Road in Killiney, comes replete with probably the quietest next-door neighbour in Ireland — the reclusive singer who is one of Ireland’s richest women, Enya.
The Donegal-born multi-millionaire bought the dramatic six-bedroom Victorian-era Ayesha Castle from the Aylmer family for €3.8m in 1997 — reportedly outbidding Michael Flatley, who also viewed the house. The Aylmers had lived in the grade I-listed building since 1947, and Bridget Aylmer is also the vendor of View Holloa, having developed it since the sale of the castle.
Despite amassing a wealth of about €98m, which ranked her 54th in this year’s Sunday Times Irish Rich List, the notoriously reclusive Enya, 41, rarely tours or performs live and seems equally unlikely to drop in for a cup of tea. If Aylmer knows otherwise, she’s not saying.
Fans of the singer hoping to catch a peek of her pottering in her garden need not apply to purchase View Holloa, as neither house overlooks the other. “There are a lot of mature trees surrounding each house, so both are very private,” explains Ronan O’Hara of selling agents HOK Residential.
Of course, Enya is not the only celebrity resident of Bel Eire, as Dalkey and Killiney are known. The Edge resides on Killiney Hill Road, his U2 bandmate Bono lives just down the hill from View Holloa, and other neighbours include Van Morrison, Neil Jordan and Lisa Stansfield. Eddie Irvine also lives locally, although he may not for much longer, as Kilross, his modern home on Sorrento Road, is on the market for €6.5m.
What are the chances of another well-known figure shelling out for View Holloa and joining the Killiney glitterati? “There is quite a proliferation of celebrities in the area, so you never know. Maybe Enya will buy it as a gatehouse,” jokes O’Hara.
It would not be such a surprise if she did. Doggedly protective of her privacy, the ethereal singer has already made substantial reinforcements to the security of Ayesha Castle. She installed new solid timber entrance gates, raised the surrounding 45 yards of stone wall to more than 9ft and added 4ft railings on top of some sections.
The asking price for View Holloa has been reduced from more than €2.5m to €2.25m since June. “Compared to Mr Irvine’s house, it seems like a giveaway,” laughs O’Hara, who concedes that the upper end of the southside housing market is not as buoyant as some years ago.
The property’s unusual name was chosen by Aylmer in a nod to her roots. “I originally have connections with West Cork and ‘view holloa’ is one of the hunting terms used there,” she explains. The “view holloa” is a loud, high-pitched shout given when the hunted fox has been spotted. Appropriate, perhaps, as fans lucky enough to spy Enya in or around Killiney would be likely to emit a similar shriek.
The brand new 3,000-sq-ft house was five years in the making, according to Aylmer. “The house had to be designed and I had to get planning permission. It then took the best part of 14 months to build,” she explains.
New houses are unusual in this area — most suitable land was long since built on by Dublin’s monied classes. “There have been practically no new houses on the market in Killiney in recent years,” says O’Hara, “apart from Irvine’s and that of Joe Donnelly, the bookmaker.”
View Holloa is also unusual for Killiney in that it is a flat-roofed, modern affair, as different as could be from the neo-Gothic pile next door. Aylmer says her twin goals were to maximise the available light and make the house as unobtrusive as possible. The first was achieved by installing floor-to-ceiling windows along the south-facing side.
As the site is surrounded by woodland, the second goal was quite easily reached by having the main entrance set into a low-slung, granite-clad, one-storey construct. The site also slopes, so this entrance level is actually the first floor.