- Significant Update 11th December - The purchase of Lucan House (Italian Ambassador's Residence) by SDCC has now been agreed -
The sale is subject to the Court of Auditors in Italy agreeing the process, but it appears a formality
The lands will come into the Council's ownership by June 2024 which allows time for the current Ambassador to make alternative arrangements
Funding has been set aside for a masterplan for the lands and this will involve a public consultation process. Capital programme has allocated €10,750,000 for the project, but no breakdown as of yet in terms of sale price
There are lots of positive community uses for the land from a tourism and heritage perspective that will also add to the Liffey Valley lands already in Council ownership and protect the amenity for future generations
The sale completion will also allow for works on the wall breach along the Lucan Road opposite Maxol to start progressing, although SDCC is still trying to get some movement from the Italian side in the interim
I will be chasing this wall breach up again once the lands are formally in SDCC ownership one way or another
This information was provided during a discussion on the rolling three year Capital Programme after I queried the allocation at that point and also asked for an update on Lucan House during discussions on the Manager's monthly report.
Well done to all concerned in making this purchase a reality and am delighted to have played a small role during my term as Mayor in this regard.
About Lucan House
Lucan House, was built by Agmondisham Vesey and designed in conjunction with William Chambers, who also designed the Casino at Marino. The original castle on the grounds was once the residence of Patrick Sarsfield, the first Earl of Lucan and hero of the Siege of Limerick, who was subsequently awarded the title "Lord Lucan". This article has some interesting facts about Lucan House. For more read the books by Mary Mulhall and Joan O'Flynn "Treasures of Lucan" and "Lucan and Lucanians". There's also lots of useful Lucan history on the Society for Old Lucan Facebook page.
- Earlier post (first published May 2023 and edited subsequently) -
Statement on the potential sale of Lucan House to South Dublin County Council:
“SDCC has secured agreement in principle for the purchase of Lucan house. This is subject to contract and the normal rigors of conveyancing and is currently very early in the process.”
There’s a long way to go on this matter yet, as per the above holding statement from the Council.
But to put it in context, full credit is due to the outgoing Chief Executive Daniel McLoughlin for showing initiative on this matter some years back.
In May 2018, during my term as Mayor, I was contacted by then-Ambassador Serpi (pictured here on the day) who wanted to meet with the Chief Executive, senior officials and I to discuss a number of matters pertaining to Lucan.
Several issues were discussed that morning some of which I can not go into in detail about.
During the conversation, having learned that the Italians were looking at potentially moving their consulate to Lucan (likely at the stables behind the AIB), but had also looked the possibility of selling Lucan House and grounds, I strongly suggested to Ambassador Serpi that the Council should be notified of any sale as it would be of immense value to the people of Lucan if it came into public hands. To his eternal credit, the CEO (who controls the purse strings, occasionally subject to Councillor approval) then asked the Ambassador to give SDCC first option on purchasing if they ever were to consider selling the property.
I’ve been criticised in past for expressing a desire on several occasions that the property would be brought into public ownership, including as a TD, but I’ve always clarified how much we value the relationship with our Italian friends and neighbours and appreciate their ongoing generosity and always acknowledged that any potential sale should be entirely up to them.
I say this as a Lucanian, whose late mother grew up across the road in Hanbury Lane and used to play in the wider Lucan Demesne area as a child.
So I wasn't shy about mentioning it again and it’s great to hear about this tentative purchase agreement, although It’s early days yet and nothing is finalised, so it would be unwise to speculate right now on the precise nature of any sale, on a timescale, or indeed any potential future use and availability of the property. It’s that big of a deal.
But it is fair comment to say that the people of Lucan would vastly prefer for Lucan House to be in public ownership than end up being purchased privately. Such a sale would be a game-changer for Lucan and I for one await the outcome with much interest and anticipation. Equally I appreciate that nothing more can be said or done at this time.