Clonskeagh Castle, complete with tunnel and secret staircases, for sale for €2.95m

This well-hidden historic pile in Dublin 14 is now a seven-bedroom, four-reception-room family home that also includes a one-bedroom apartment

This article is 5 months old
Address: Clonskeagh Castle, 80 Whitebeam Road, Clonskeagh, Dublin 14
Price: €2,950,000
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald
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Hiding a castle in plain sight is not an easy thing. But just off the roundabout on Whitebeam Road in Dublin 14 is Clonskeagh Castle, hidden behind a blanket of trees with the grounds of Dodderstown and Milltown Grove apartments behind it.

Dating from about 1790, it once stood on a much larger elevated site than its current half-acre, and was approached by an avenue which is now Whitethorn Road. It was constructed for Henry Jackson, an industrialist who owned a successful iron business with foundries in both the city centre and at the River Dodder, not far from his Clonskeagh home.

He became a prominent member of the United Irishmen, and was involved with various preparations for the 1798 rebellion, as his foundries manufactured pikes used in combat, along with iron balls used in the French cannons. His son-in-law Oliver Bond, who was implicated in the preparations, died in prison of apoplexy, after which Jackson moved to the United States with his wife and extended family.

The family claimed to be related to the seventh president of the United States, Andrew Jackson, though some have questioned the veracity of this.


In 1811, two large towers were added to the castle by the next resident, George Thompson, who had a post at the Irish treasury. Thompson’s alterations in essence turned the house around back to front, as the original entrance had been on the southern side – which now allows light to flow in from the south.

The castle was purchased in 1934 by G&T Crampton, who later developed the fine redbrick houses that now stand on the nearby Whitethorn, Whitebeam and Maple Roads.

In its 230 or so years, perhaps the most unusual part of Clonskeagh Castle’s history was a lost Kerry treasure, presumed missing for the best part of 130 years.

This year marks the 410th anniversary of Tralee being granted a charter to operate as a town, with a mayor and a corporation. However, the charter itself, in Latin script on vellum, was found in September 1972 by a Dublin-based solicitor acting on behalf of its owners. It remains a mystery how the charter arrived at Clonskeagh Castle, but it is thought that it ended up in Dublin after being misplaced when the Tralee municipal corporation was closed in 1840.

The castle, now surrounded by a curtilage of trees, was divided into apartments and purchased in 1992 by its current residents, who turned it back into a family home.

In 2019 the family engaged another family member, architect Marc Kilkenny to carry out works on the property. Commenting on this, Mr Kilkenny said: “Working with my father-in-law at Clonskeagh Castle was an immense privilege. This house was like a member of the family and I felt honoured to be entrusted with the works… We reopened the original 18th century entrance to create a new sitting room which reintroduced south light into the entrance hall.  We replaced the main roof and rerouted rainwater and transformed part of the basement into a light and spacious apartment with associated garden and steps up to a new terrace by the main kitchen. All works were carried out to the highest conservation standards.”*

Extending to a whopping 600sq m (6,450sq ft) not including storage units, its tunnel or its secret staircases, the house is in excellent condition considering its age. It has seven bedrooms and four sumptuously-sized reception rooms, as well as a most generous hallway.

There is something almost feminine about the curves and arches of the building, which contrast wonderfully with its more structured linear castellated exterior.

The new apartment at basement level can bring in an income or indeed house staff or an au pair, and there is lots of room for further development, subject to planning permission.

The property has a Section 482 designation, and there is an existing planning permission to allow for further improvements, one of which is to connect the three upper parts of the house into a penthouse-like suite of rooms.

This most unusual offering, which is Ber-exempt, is now on the market through Sherry FitzGerald, seeking €2.95 million.

*This article was amended to add a quote from Marc Kilkenny

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle

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