Numbers 4 and 6 Elgin Road in Ballsbridge are surrounded by desirable red-brick Victorian houses.

They are opposite the Belgian embassy, and a minute’s walk from the US, Turkish, Mexican, Kenyan and Ukrainian embassies.

But despite the location, they’ve lain empty for years, shielded by the leafy trees and long garden that separate them from the path.

Their brickwork facade still looks sturdy, but there is high grass and the paint on the door is cracked. Two white notices strapped to the gates warn passersby not to trespass.

One of our readers contacted us, wondering why the pair of houses, which he first noticed a few years ago, is still vacant.

They have been up for sale twice in the last few years, and Dublin City Council granted planning permission in 2002 to Elgin Properties Ltd to refurbish them, as well as number eight.

Permission was granted to fix up the protected structures and turn them into nine luxury apartments, rather than the 30 bedsits that were there lying empty, no longer let out.

But the work was never carried out, the planning permission lapsed, and the houses continued to deteriorate.

In 2011, Colliers International put the three of them up for sale along with their garden coach houses on Pembroke Lane.

The brochure at the time described the three terraced houses as four-storey, spacious, early Victorian residences, with an estimated floor space of 418 square metres.

But it went on to say that all three of them were in a poor state after being left partially vacant for 30 years.

A report from the Irish Times at the time said the estate agent was looking for €6 million.

They were being sold by hotelier James Reynolds, the brother of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, it said.

The sale came shortly after number six made the news because the address was given on a fake Irish passport used by a man who was allegedly part of a group that assassinated a Hamas official in Dubai.

A couple of neighbours recall the scandal, and, at the time, were delighted to see the vacant houses finally up for sale.

But only number eight is occupied now; there are wheelie bins in the front and the garden’s greenery is tamer. Plus, there are no warnings or bike locks on the front gate.

The other two have been vacant for 35 years now – a thorn in the side of the otherwise immaculately kept street.

Last month, Hunters Estate Agent put them up for sale again, suggesting that either or both of them would make an ideal embassy. (They were priced at €1.75 million and €2.5 million).

But those adverts came down last week.

On Tuesday, Bobby Geraghty, Hunters’ branch manager for the city centre and the agent in charge of the sale, said that the properties haven’t been sold.

They were only taken off the market temporarily, he says, and will be back up for sale in a couple of weeks’ time.

“They will be sold,” he says, confidently.

Have you noticed empty units that you think should be filled? Let us know and we’ll see what we can find out about them. Send an email to

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *