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Killiney History | March 5, 2024

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AddressGlenalua Road
Year Built1936
ArchitectMichael Scott
Exists todayYes
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2021 | author

Reenavanna and it’s neighbour, Carraig Donn, 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 of 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.

Carraig Donn and Reenavanna shortly after completion in 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.

Advert for steel windows used in the construction of Reenavanna, from The Irish Builder 1936. Courtesy of David and Joan Millar.

Rear view of Reenavanna c.1960. Photo courtesy of David & Joan Millar.

Obituary of B. J. Fagan which appeared in the Irish Times on 3rd January 1939