Carraig Donn and it’s neighbour, Reenavanna, were designed by the renowned architect Michael Scott for Col. B. J. Fagan and his family. The two houses were designed in the International Style of the Modern Movement and feature many of the design influences which can be seen in Geragh 1937/38, which Michael Scott designed for himself in Sandycove. In many respects Carraig Donn and Reenavanna were used by Scott as a testing ground for the design and construction techniques he would later use in his own house.
The Modern Movement embraced the latest construction technologies and set out to remove any historical design references allowing function to dictate the form of the building. Typical design elements displayed here include the flat roof, marine detailing in balcony rails, curved bay windows, predominantly blank North facing elevations with large glazed elements facing South taking advantage of the sun and views and, of course, white plastered walls. These houses were both constructed using mass concrete walls which was a very new form of building at this time and makes them possibly one the earliest examples of houses to be built in Ireland using this technique. The houses feature in Paul Larmour’s book: ‘Free State Architecture. Modern Movement architecture in Ireland 1922-1949’ which was published in 2009.
Extract from deeds of 1936
The deeds dated 1936 reflect the historical connection with Glenalua Lodge from which estate the plot is derived and ultimately can be traced back to the Talbot de Malahide estate which included much of Rocheshill and Ballinclea. The Waterhouse family were significant owners of land in the vicinity of Glenalua Road and their origins in Killiney can be traced back to 1851. The two houses were built at the same time and B. J. Fagan constructed Carraig Donn for his sister Moya Josephine Fagan. He retained Reenavanna as his main residence but only lived there for a short while before his death in 1939. Miss M. J. Fagan is recorded as living in ‘Updown’ Glenalua Road in Thom’s directory of 1940. This may be an earlier name for Carraig Donn.
‘THIS INDENTURE made the twenty seventh day of July one thousand nine hundred and thirty six (1936) BETWEEN ANNIE ALMA WATERHOUSE of Glenburn, Palmerston Road in the County of Dublin Spinster, JOHN H. WATERHOUSE of Killarney House Bray in the County of Wicklow M.D., SAMUEL H. WATERHOUSE of Claremont Killiney in the County of Dublin Jeweller as Trustees of the Will of Samuel S. Waterhouse deceased of the first part and SAMUEL H. WATERHOUSE Killiney aforesaid KATHLEEN ANN HAFFIELD of Laureen George Avenue Blackrock County Dublin, JOHN H. WATERHOUSE of Killarney House Bray aforesaid WILLIAM F. WATERHOUSE of Claremont Killiney aforesaid LILIAN MAUD ROBINSON of Elm Lodge Monkstown County Dublin, married woman, HARRIETTE ANN WATERHOUSE of Kingscote Westcott Surrey Widow, HALIFAX WATERHOUSE of 50 Hounslow Feltham Middlesex England, GEORGE WATERHOUSE of Clonmore House, Cahir, Co.Tipperary Esquire and MARY V. BREWER of 9 Earldom Road, Sheffield, England, Married woman as beneficial Owners under the trusts of the Will of aforesaid Samuel S. Waterhouse deceased of the second part (the parties hereto of the first and second parts being hereinafter called “the Lessors”) which expression shall where the context so admits include their executors administrators and assigns) and BERNARD JOSEPH FAGAN of Thorncroft, Killiney in the County of Dublin, Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) In His Majesty’s Indian Army, Companion of the Distinguished Service Order.’
The deeds go on to stipulate:
‘The lease doth hereby covenant with the Lessors that the Lessee shall and will within nine calendar months from the date hereof build complete and finish in a good substantial and workmanlike manner upon the premises hereby demised two dwellinghouses and no more according to plans and Specifications to be approved of by the Lessor’s Architect and shall spend or cause to be expenses in the building and erection the sum of one thousand pounds at least on each of such dwellinghouses and will produce vouchers or accounts to the satisfaction of the Lessor’s Architect for such expenditure.’