Saturday 19 August 2017

Forever young: rich boys and their big toys

Vineyards: Paddy McKillen and Chateau La Coste
Vineyards: Paddy McKillen and Chateau La Coste
Jets: JP McManus and his Gulfstream G650
Yachts: Eddie Jordan and his Sunseekers
Horses: Michael O'Leary, and his Cheltenham winners
Homes: Shane Reihill on Ailesbury Road
Homes: Owen Killian on Shrewsbury Road

Ireland's super-rich have been spending money like it's going out of fashion.

A vast crane reaches into the sky at Ireland's most expensive road, as Aryzta's Owen Killian rebuilds the €6.5m house he bought on Shrewsbury Road. Apart from the underground pool, there's a lift for his car to take it up from the subterranean garage.

Just around the corner, financier Shane Reihill is also planning major renovations to a new pad on Ailesbury Road, including a vast underground extension. The neighbours have appealed, citing flooding worries. The neighbours are the billionaire Desmond family.

Property investor Paddy McKillen sold his €800m-plus stake in Claridges Hotel group last year. He can afford to spend some more time in the utterly spectacular Chateau La Coste vineyard he owns in Provence.

Apart from the wine - available in his family-run restaurants ranging from Angelina's to Wagamama - the vineyard is an incredible architectural and artistic project, with building designed by starchitects, and sculptures and art works by Tracy Emin and REM front man Michael Stipe.

The jets are there too. Denis O'Brien has a new €65m jet. His shiny new G650ER is the flagship model in the Gulfstream range and can fly over 8,500 miles at more than 660 miles per hour. It has been described as the jet "that all the billionaires want".

Yachts: Eddie Jordan and his Sunseekers
Yachts: Eddie Jordan and his Sunseekers

JP McManus has a €55m Gulfstream G650. Other private jet owners include Larry Goodman and Dermot Desmond. Stripe's John Collison is learning to fly planes while Laing O'Rourke boss Ray O'Rourke is also an accomplished pilot.

There are some swanky cars. There hasn't been any sign of the €2.1m Bugatti Veyron owned by a kitchen tycoon during the boom but the super rich still have some epic cars. Sean Dreelan has a red Ferrari 599 GTO, with Lochlann Quinn and Michael Herbert also Ferrari drivers.

Mike Lynch has a very rare James Bond Aston Martin, with Boylesports' John Boyle owning a Rolls Royce called "Ruby". Quite a few of them, including new entry Andy Ruhan and construction giant Eddie McIlhinney, are involved in motor racing.

The private yachts are also there, with Denis O'Brien cutting a good deal to buy the 1920s-style super-cruiser Nero last year. Ardagh's Paul Coulson and Lone Star boss John Grayken are also said to have some serious bits of shipping. Eddie Jordan is on his 9th Sunseeker superyacht.

The super-rich love their sport. Pharma tycoon Ronan Lambe won a massive gamble last year when his horse Lord Windermere romped home in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Ryanair's Michael O'Leary also had an epic Cheltenham, winning a stack of races including Don Poli bagging the valuable RSA Chase.

Dermot Desmond has been the biggest shareholder in Scottish champions Celtic, who won yet another title last year. Private equity baron Ellis Short saw his Sunderland survive relegation in 2015. He hired veteran manager Sam Allardyce and spent €51m buying the likes of Jermain Lens from Dynamo Kiev and Fabio Borini from Bordeaux. At this stage of the season the club is back in a relegation dogfight.

Former 123.ie insurance entrepreneur Tony Richardson returned from Monaco to buy Premiership rugby club London Wasps for €16m - and promptly moved the team to Coventry. He raised €49m from investors in a bond to help finance the purchase of the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. Wasps are challenging for the championship, bulked up by England backrower James Haskell and Australian rugby legend George Smith.

Denis O'Brien is also a major sports fan. He was an investor in Celtic but most recently he has helped fund the salaries of the Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane dream team as the Republic of Ireland side heads for the Group of Death in Euro 2016. O'Brien was also instrumental in bringing outhalf Johnny Sexton back to Leinster after his time at Racing Metro in Paris.

The super-rich also stepped in to save works of art that were about to leave the state. Denis O'Brien, Lochlann Quinn and John Gallagher coughed up millions to buy paintings from the Beit collection that were set to be sold abroad.

Ireland's wealthiest people also own works by Picasso, Renoir, Andy Warhol, Matisse and Modigliani. We're not sure what happened to the Monet.

Sunday Independent

Also in Business