Marlay Grange was built by renowned Dublin architect John McCurdy in the 1850s or 1860s, possibly 1866. John McCurdy also designed the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin's city centre. It lies on the Grange Road, in a woodland setting, sitting on 5.06 hectares, or 12.5 acres.
The grounds include specimen trees, two ornamental pounds and a trellis-covered sunken pathway which encloses a semi-circular formal garden. A long tree-lined avenue leads up to a gravelled forecourt in front of the house.
The house and estate were sold by then-owners the McGrane family in the year 2000 to the British Embassy in Dublin for stg£6.4 million. It was intended to replace the British Ambassador's residence at Glencairn House.
Planning permission was received from South Dublin County Council for a lot of work to renovate the property and to add a number of outbuildings and chalets on the estate to accommodate embassy staff, but the plan was eventually dropped due to security concerns. This led to the British Government re-purchasing Glencairn House and putting Marlay Grange back on the market, losing significant money in the process.
The property was bought in 2007/8 by Niall Mellon, property developer and philanthropist, who tried to build houses on the grounds. The council turned down his application for planning permission and the house went back on the market. Enquiries with the estate agent at the time suggested that the asking price was in the region of €12 million, even though the property crash was already in progress.
The building is a cut-stone two storey high-roofed Victorian house built in the Gothic style. The imposing structure contains gables, dormer gables, and a tower with a truncated pyramidal roof.
The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage described the house as "a fine and comparatively rare example of a Victorian Gothic country house in the Ruskinian style".