Council in talks to buy €5m Fernhill House and Gardens
The Irish Times reported this week that the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council is in negoatiations to buy Fernhill House in Stepaside with a view to open the extensive grounds up as a public park.
The house sits on a huge site. 84 acres which are largely wooded but almost half the grounds are laid out in superb gardens. Started in the mid 19th century, Fernhill’s gardens have some fantastic species of tree and plants from around the world, including some particularly impressive rhododendrons including one that is actually famous, the “Fernhill Silver”, which is believed to have come from the Glasnevin Botanic Gardens.
Photos courtesy of Colliers International who have the house on the market asking €5 million. The house was previously purchased by David Arnold for almost €45 million in 2008. Surprisingly the purchase was never about full scale development. The plan was reportedly a “educational establishment” (Irish Times, 2007) with playing fields and perhaps a small smattering of high-end residential.
No matter now. The site has been in NAMA for years and Colliers have been tasked to sell it but with no private takers so far. Admittedly the house needs work but that could be sold off to part-repay the public expense. But those gardens and woodlands, it seems too good to miss…?
A new Marley Park or a new Botanic Gardens?
If the council is successful, this new park could be a rival to nearby Marley Park. Former stately house, epic grounds and woodland sweeping up to the mountains. This could be a wonderful facility for all the residents at the mass housing developments at Park View, Belarmine and Aiken’s Village.
Or by the sound of it, those fantastic plant species and formal gardens could tip the scale to a new botanic gardens, a sort of Glasnevin South – although they’d have a better name for it…
We hope it becomes a reality. This is clever, long-term thinking from DLR Council and possible one of the best things to come out of NAMA for South Co. Dublin. Fingers-and-toes firmly-crossed.