Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

Killiney History | June 15, 2024

Scroll to top



Previous NamesAnnaghnoon c.1869
AddressStation Road
Year Builtc.1869
ArchitectT.N. Deane
Exists todayYes
On 1888 mapYes
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2024 | author

Description by Peter Pearson (1998)

The Court Hotel, formerly a private house called Court-na-Farraige, also belongs to this group of fanciful, French chateau-inspired houses. It was designed in 1865, probably by the architect T. N. Deane for William Exham, and is ornamented with an extravagant series of stone-capped gables, and a conical tower, all elaborately surrounded by a now-vanished, two-storey verandah. A second conical tower was added in the 1970s when the hotel was extended.

Photo courtesy of Gerald M. Beesley date unkown

Residents as listed in Thom’s Directory

1869House called Annaghnoon completedThe Architecture of Deane and Woodward by Frederick O’Dwyer
1877-80William Exham Esq QC ‘Courtnafarraga’Thom’s
1884-87Mrs. Exham
1888John Burke Esq
1889Richard Burke Esq ?Talbot Coall Directory
1890-94John Burke EsqThom’s
1900-24Capt. R.A. Smythe J.P.
1926-34Miss Olive Smythe
1937-52David B. O’Flaherty, Solicitor.
1940Court-Na-Farraga Hotel, Vico RoadThom’s
1943-54Court-Na-Farraga Hotel. Proprietors, Mr. & Mrs. David Blair O’FlahertyThom’s
1960Court-Na-Farraga Hotel.
1960James O’Flaherty
Listing is incomplete, created from limited records

1888 Map

Ordnance Survey map of 1888 showing ‘Court-na-ferrigan’ Sheet XXVI.7 “County Dublin,” held by Ordnance Survey Ireland. © Public domain. Digital content: © Ordnance Survey Ireland, published by UCD Library, University College Dublin

Exham family (1880-1887)

The Exham family were the earliest residents of the house. They subsequently moved to Kenah Hill (formerly Stoneleigh) in c.1893, or later, after the collapse of Frank DuBedat’s empire. See here.

A tragic story was reported in the Irish Times of 17th October 1877


A fatal and melancholy accident occurred yesterday afternoon near Bray, by which a lady and gentleman lost their lives. The accident cast the deepest gloom over the entire district of Killiney and Dalkey and the greatest sympathy is felt for the parents of the young lady and gentleman thus prematurely carried to an early grave.

Memorial to Robert Sullivan in Holy Trinity Church, Killiney

The victims of the accident are Miss Constance Exham, only daughter of Mr W. Exham, Q.C. and Mr Robert Sullivan, second son of the Master of the Rolls. The young lady has been home from school only about a month and was in her 17th year and Mr Sullivan was about twenty years of age.

Yesterday, at about 12 o’clock, Miss Exham with her brother, Mr John Exham, and Mr Robert Sullivan engaged a boat from a man named Homan at Killiney Strand and proceeded on a sail. There was a good strong and steady wind, though perhaps too much for a small boat. The three occupants of the boat proceeded to Bray. In sailing along the shore, the greatest precaution is necessary, as shoals and rocks are met with at various places. Both gentlemen, it is stated were well acquainted with the locality. However, when the boat was going before the wind, near the Shanganagh Junction, a number of children, who were working in the garden of the ticket collector at Bray had their attention attracted by hearing a shout.

At the same time, fishermen from Dalkey, who were some distance from the place engaged in their occupation, also heard a shout and pulled to the place. They found  Mr John Exham holding on by an oar in a very exhausted state and quite stiff from the cold. They brought him ashore, when he was taken to the residence of Judge Lawson in the neighbourhood and restored as far as to be able to return home in the judge’s carriage. Homan and Brien, two boatmen from Killiney, went to the scene of the accident and found the coats and hats of the young gentlemen. After some time, the body of Miss Exham  was picked up some distance from the shore and after being got into the boat, the remains were conveyed to Ballybrack strand and thence to the residence of Mr Exham in Killiney.

Throughout the evening, crowds of people visited the residence of Mr Exham and Mr Sullivan and expressed the deepest sorrow and sympathy at the bereavement which had befallen both families.

The body of Mr Sullivan is believed to be entangled in the rigging of the boat, which remains at the bottom. A search  will be commenced today for the recovery of the body.

Mr Exham, who is absent in London, is expected home this morning and the Master of the Rolls, with his eldest son, are travelling on the continent  and are believed to be at present in Constantinople.

Memorial to Constance Exham in the Church of the Holy Trinity, Killiney

Extract from The Architecture of Deane and Woodward by Frederick O’Dwyer, 1997.

Bear in mind that the extract below was written in 1997 when the Killiney Court Hotel still existed. Much of the commentary is still relevant today.

Exham’s (Robert Exham) brother William Allen Exham QC (1820-81) came to Killiney in 1865 and occupied Kilmore House until his own new villa, Annaghnoon, was ready for occupation in 1869. He soon renamed it Court-na-Farraga, from which its present title, the Court Hotel, is derived. Court-na-Farraga is much larger than the earlier houses and can be attributed with certainty to T.N. Deane. It is Jacobethan throughout, with shaped gables and applied decoration in which the traditional strapwork ‘X’ serves also as Exham’s monogram. The elaboration of detail does not disguise its ancestry and many features of Undercliffe, including the turret, occur also at Court-na-Farraga. The lead canopied regency style veranda, which graced the south elevation and the red brick gatehouse, no longer survive. Additions, including a second turret, were built in 1973. The original house is now somewhat dwarfed by further extensions of the 1980s (This relates to the hotel wings which were demolished to facilitate the apartment development in 2005).

Smythe family (1899-1934)

In his book on Henry Eoghan O’ Brien, An Engineer of Nobility, Gerald Beesley refers to the Smythe family who came to live in Court-na-Farraige in 1899. Richard Altamont Smythe had been a Captain of the Salop Militia and in 1869 he married Frances Anne Jane Bellingham, 4th daughter of Sir Alan Edward Bellingham. Their daughter, Frances Victoria Lucy Smythe, was aged 14 at the time of their move to Killiney and she later went on to marry her neighbour from Mount Eagle, Henry Eoghan O’ Brien. Gerald Beesley goes on to describe the wedding:

Court-na-Farraige in 2006

The wedding of Henry Eoghan O’Brien and Frances Victoria Lucy Smythe took place on Tuesday 10th January 1905 at Holy Trinity Church, Killiney; the service being conducted by the Rector, Canon R.B. Stoney, and Revd Dudley Fletcher, incumbent of Lissadell, Co. Sligo, and brother-in-law of the bride. The best man was  Ventry Guiscard Mellin, a friend of Eoghan’s in the traffic department of the L&YR. The groom’s party travelled in a Brougham drawn by a splendid pair of horses up the hill from Mount Eagle to the church, which was beautifully decorated with palms and arum lilies. The bride, who wore a white crepe de chine dress with chiffon flounces embroidered in silver sequins and a veil of rare old Limerick lace lent by her mother, was given away by her father, R.A. Smythe. The bridesmaids were Olive Mary Smythe and Eileen Barbara Smythe (sisters of the bride), Miss Irene Falkiner, and Erica Smythe a six-year old cousin of the bride. They carried bouquets of lilies, and wore pearl brooches that were gifts from Eoghan. A large-scale reception was held at Court-na-Farraga where the guests included Sir Henry & Lady Bellingham, Gen. & Hon. Mrs  Waller, Rt.Hon. Frederick & Miss Wrench, Sir John & Lady Franks, Mr & Mrs Clifford Lloyd, Sir Frederick & Lady Cullinan, Lady Anne French, and the Countess of Portarlington. The couple received about 180 gifts including a silver mounted umbrella and a copy of Joyce’s Social History of Ireland from Mr & Mrs Michael Davin and a silver coffee pot and stand from Mr & Mrs John Dillon. Amongst the gifts from railway colleagues was a silver model of an electric motor car controller from J.A.F. Aspinall for the groom, and a bracelet from Mrs Aspinall for the bride. Mr & Mrs Hoy gave the couple a silver egg stand, Mr & Mrs Winder a watercolour, and Mr & Mrs Gresley gave them silver bon-bon dishes. The staff of the Liverpool & Southport electric branch presented a silver tea service.

Floor plans from 2006 sales brochure