A planning application for development of the site and house at Neptune House, at the top of Temple Crescent and behind Alma Road, in Monkstown, has been lodged with the Council by Igmar Ferreira.
The application reference number is D14A/0170 and the planning file can be inspected free-of-charge, at County Hall, in Dún Laoghaire, during business hours, or you can view the application here.
Broadly speaking, permission is sought for—
- renovation of Neptune House, including modifications to facilitate its change into four residential apartments (one 2-bed and three 3-beds);
- demolition and removal of the recent two-storey annex to Neptune House;
- demolition and removal of the modern three-storey student block;
- widening the existing access from Temple Crescent to provide a new roadway and access to the development;
- construction of 15 houses (seven detached and eight semi-detached) ranging from two to three storeys, and from two to four bedrooms;
- provision of new open spaces and boundary treatments on the site; and
- parking for 37 cars.
If you have any submissions, observations or objections you would like to make on this application, you can do so before close of business on the 6th of May, on payment of a €20 fee. This fee is required by legislation and is not set by the Council.
You can make a submission on-line here.
Neptune House is a hugely significant house in terms of its architecture and place in local history. It was built in 1767 by Sergeant James Dennis, 1st Baron Tracton as his country residence. An MP and judge, Dennis had his main residence at Tracton House on St. Stephen’s Green. When Dennis died suddenly in 1782, his heir sold the house to John Scott, the 1st Earl of Clonmel (1739-1798), also known as “Copperfaced Jack” because of his ruddy complexion that was apparently caused by his fondness of alcohol. Scott was a barrister, MP and Lord Chief Justice of Ireland.
Scott’s primary was at Clonmel House at 17 Harcourt Street in Dublin, now the head quarters of The Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland. The nite club that remembers him – Copper Face Jacks – is located at the Jackson Court Hotel at Nos. 29-30 Harcourt Street. Clonmel Street, which leads from Harcourt Street to the Iveagh Gardens, was named after him, as was Earlsfort Terrace (as he was also Baron Earlsfort). Neptune House was to be Scott’s country residence.
Scott was alleged to have his fortune by holding land in trust for Catholics (who were not allowed to own property) and then reneging on the agreements. He kept a diary in which he recorded many resolutions, including one in 1790, six years after becoming Chief Justice of Ireland, where he resolved to “seriously set about learning my profession”. In spite of his resolutions, Scott became so obese that he became immobile and at night had to be carried to bed by his servants. Upon his death 216 years ago next month, the undertakers were unable to carry his body down the stairs and were forced to lower it from a bedroom window of Neptune House.
In 1916, when British military reinforcements were sent to Dublin to deal with the Easter Rising, the troops landed at Dún Laoghaire (then Kingstown) and were housed at Neptune House. Thereafter, it served as one of three auxiliary military hospitals for soldiers wounded during World War I.
The house was owned by St. Patrick’s Guild and run by the Sisters of Charity, from the 1930s until the 1980s and was known as St Patrick’s Infants Hospital, Temple Hill. Tragically, during this time, hundreds of children were secretly sent to the United States for adoption, without their parents’ knowledge or consent.
In the late 1980s, Neptune House is said to have been used by Sinn Féin and the Government for secret meetings in the lead-up to initial Northern Ireland peace talks.
In the late 20th Century, US billionaire and founder of Atlantic Philanthropies, Chuck Feeney, acquired the house and it was used for a time by Trinity College (John Scott’s alma mater) as student accommodation.
In 2000, developer Bernard McNamara bought the house for €8m but was unable to realise his outrageous plans for five blocks of student accommodation. Planning was refused, thanks to local residents’ objections, in late 2002.
Neptune House today is a two-storeys over basement, three-bay Georgian mansion of cut-granite, with a pedimented door case and Doric pilasters at the centre. Inside, it has a double-height front hall and throughout the ground floor the neo-classical plasterwork, attributed to the stuccodore Patrick Osborne, has been carefully restored. The Georgian house extends to about 1,208m2 (13,000 sq ft) with three grand reception rooms at entrance level, including a ballroom, eight bedrooms and a roof-top terrace. A wonderful collection of photographs of Neptune House on the Irish Film Board web site can be viewed here.
The 1990s student accommodation is in a bad state and the application seeks permission to demolish it, along with the three-storey office block extension linked to the main, old house.
If you need any further information, please feel free to contact Barry.