When John “Jack” McDonnell Jr. and his wife, Jackie, decided to build a new house in a gated community in McLean, Virginia, in early 2000, they took inspiration from the medieval Dunluce Castle in Ireland, and later named the estate after it.
“We spent a lot of time in Ireland and tried to build a replica of our ancestral castle,” said Mr. McDonnell, 80, founder and former chief executive of Transaction Network Services, Inc., a payments, financial and data communication firm. “We furnished the house with elaborate Irish handcraft glasswork, woodwork and rugs.”
The mansion, designed by architect George B. Sagatov, Inc. with landscaping by Charles Owen of Fine Landscape, was completed in 2002. Ever since, Mr. McDonnell and his wife have cherished their spacious, yet warm and cozy home.
“Our favorite room is definitely the breakfast room. It is beautifully decorated and has great views of the front lawn,” Mr. McDonnell said.
However, as they’ve decided to downsize, they put the estate on the market for $7.1 million last month.
Spanning four stories and 16,000 square feet, the mansion has seven bedrooms, eight full bathrooms and two half bathrooms. It is filled with details throughout inspired by Irish Georgian manors, according to the listing with Jennie McDonnell, Mr. McDonnell’s daughter-in-law and an agent of Long & Foster Real Estate, an affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate.
The two-story grand foyer has walnut paneling and molding with hand-painted gold leaf accents and marble floors with a harp inlay. In the formal living and dining rooms and library, the ceilings feature handmade plaster medallions that are reproductions of those found in Georgian manors in Ireland. The coffered ceiling in the great room features symbols from the Book of Kells, considered one of Ireland’s greatest cultural treasures.
The breakfast room Mr. McDonnell enjoys most is adjacent to the kitchen. It has a stone fireplace and its own patio.
Other highlights of the mansion include six more fireplaces, an elevator that serves all four floors, an entertainment floor with a bar, a theater, a recreation room and a billiard room, according to the listing.
The 5.15-acre estate also includes a four-car garage, a fenced-in pool, a hot tub, a stone hearth, a pergola and a landscaped garden. Although it’s not directly accessible to the Potomac River, the estate has its own stream and waterfalls, Mr. McDonnell said.
McLean, Virginia, just 11 miles outside Washington, D.C., is one of the most expensive areas in the U.S. and is home to many high-profile politicians and businessmen. Ethel Kennedy’s former estate, Hickory Hill, is located there.
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