Friday 21 November 2014

The men who put the swoon into tycoon

Never mind the width of the wad, it takes more than cash to be Ireland's hottest tycoon, says Niamh Horan

Published 09/03/2014 | 02:30

Liam Neeson has defended New York's horse-drawn carriages
Liam Neeson
Michael Fassbender
Bono
Shane Smith
Shane Reihill
Eddie Irvine
Paddy McKillen
Johnny Ronan. Photo: GerryMooney
Michael O’Leary

What is sexy? Can you give me an honest answer? Or will we have to agree that it's an elusive quality we can never really pin down?

It's indefinable because it can be ... well, anything really.

It's become immortalised in pop culture from iconic images as diverse as a grown woman surrounded by her teddies in her childhood bedroom like Britney Spears on the cover of Rolling Stone in 1999, or someone who seems as if they're addicted to drugs, like any number of mascara-smudged 'heroin chic' modelettes.

The people who don't have it spend their time trying to simplify it. Or trying to write it off in others.

They see a younger woman who oozes sex appeal and reduce it to her fleeting good looks (any bikini photo shoot on Grafton Street will knock this theory on the head) or an older gentleman who's a hit at the bar – and they'll attempt to brush it off as the allure of his wallet.

Whatever makes you feel better, as they say.

But we all know beautiful people who have about as much personality as a bran muffin and wealthy men who have the same affect on your night as a box of Ambien.

And we've all been on nights out where a two-hour designer wardrobe transformation instils about as much enthusiasm from your date as dangling a leash in front of a cat's nose.

And then the next morning – when your hair is tossed and a T- shirt is the only thing between you and your breakfast orange juice – you just ooze real raw, human animal magnetism.

So in the 2014 sexiest men on Ireland's rich list, I attempt to quantify what has earned each of these a place on the board.

And yes – I kid you not – there happens to be a guy this year's countdown called Dr Climax and it took all my strength of character not to include him in my top ten – though no doubt, he would have most women at 'hello'.

Liam Neeson

Colin who? That's right, one in four Irish women would chose 64-year-old Liam as their dream date.

In short, it's the voice.

His soft Antrim lilt has an entire Facebook page dedicated to it.

It has the killer combination of being deep and manly, but breathy and gentle. Crikey, I have to stop myself here.

To see him in full flight, have a look at Taken where he manages to kill at least 30 people, destroy a construction site and a house, steal three cars, shoot a high-ranking law enforcement official's wife and still manage to stroll off a plane and clear customs at LAX without anyone saying a dickie bird.

Eddie Irvine

"Sex for me is too easy," former Formula 1 racedriver Irvine has said with a dead-pan face when asked about his his bedroom dalliances.

"It's an easy way to have fun, isn't it? But it's not massively challenging."

Tough life.

We all have our problems.

For Eddie, it's the fact that he is at his sexiest when he's not actually talking.

Shane Smith

When he's not posing in ridiculous shoots with giant stuffed grizzly bears, chief executive of Vice Media Shane Smith is actually pretty damn sexy.

Never heard of him?

Well you should have nabbed him while he was working as a barman in Kehoes.

Now you'd need a bulletproof vest and a direct flight to Afghanistan, North Korea or Liberia, where he spends most his time these days.

He likes whiskey, wrestling, baths and naps. (I wonder if in that order?) He is also known for his razor-sharp wit. In a pair of aviators and with an AK-47 in his hand, he is at his manliest and sexiest.

His top tip for travelling with him? "Bring bribes and gold coins," he says.

Check him out! I'm sold.

Bono

Intelligence, vulnerability, charm, wit and confidence. As one of the most powerful and influential men in the world, it would be easy to peddle the line that this is what gives him his seductive appeal. But it's not.

It's the fact that he is all these things to all men. He travels around the globe meeting presidents and royalty, supermodels and superstars and is still one of the most patient and mannerly types you'll come across in this business.

And for me? Well, class and good old-fashioned manners are sexier than most other good traits. That plus he is also the only man I know who looks better than me in a pair of leather pants.

Michael O'Leary

If there was ever a name on this list that proves I'm being completely objective, it's Michael O'Leary.

Any work encounter I've ever had with him has fallen flat – but I'm not going to stand in the way of a deserving man when I see one.

His phallocentric views are hard to stomach, his braggadocio attitude even more so and he still doesn't get the fact that the only reason his outdated calendars are so offensive is because they look about as brassy as an eastern European brothel.

But do you know what?

He is unapologetically, absolutely himself at all times, and won't shy away from that for anyone. Now isn't that the sexiest trait any man can have?

Michael Fassbender

Empire magazine said when they voted him one of the sexiest men on the planet "he can make even the most appalling characters seem appealing".

I spotted this first-hand a few weeks ago watching 12 Years A Slave when I had to tell a friend to check herself when she began voicing how much he turned her on during a particularly gruesome scene. Really, some women!

Elsewhere, any man who can hop into bed with Penelope Cruz while her scary Spanish husband is watching a few feet away has that sexy bold and über confident streak about him too. It was on the set of The Counseller that Fassbender had to step into the lion's cage and he pulled it off with aplomb. When he's not on set working you'll most likely find him sprawled out in an infrared sauna, piano playing or motorbike riding across Europe with his father. While others are boasting about bringing sexy back, Fassbender could confidently claim it never left.

Shane Reihill

There's something sexy about a man who loves to take a risk and for Shane Reihill, poker player and executive chairman TVC Holdings, the boardroom isn't quite enough to satisfy his urge.

Pictures of him in an open-necked white shirt with a cigar casually dangling from his mouth as he weighs up his chances at a poker tournament give him serious street cred. Even in his shades, he always has that same look of focus that makes you want to work hard at stealing his attention.

He's pretty good too –having won over €91,000 on the world circuit.

Professional poker player, Victoria Coren once said: "Poker is a stimulating psychological challenge, combining guts and detective work ... a world of its own, offering all the childish appeal of secret places, special languages and staying up late at night." Sounds like my typical Saturday night to me.

Still, I wonder if Shane has ever played my version?

Johnny Ronan

Where do I begin? I'd pick up the phone and ask one of the numerous leggy women he has been linked with why businessman, property developer and 'Buccaneer', Johnny Ronan deserves a place on the list.

But they've all been sworn off him by their current boyfriends. And could you blame the poor chaps?

The tales of Ronan seducing women in bars, restaurants, swimming pools and nightclubs have gone down in legend. I'd reprint them here but we'd have to sell the paper on the top shelf this weekend.

Still, he's been on his best behaviour in recent years, working hard to protect and rebuild his empire whilst putting business [pretty much] number one on the top of his 'to do' list.

For boring technical issues he's not on this year's rich list but he still earns a place here for two good reasons – firstly, he's larging it up on our page dedicated to the developers who have survived, and secondly, he would still be sexier than the rest of them put together, with or without the money.

John Dorrance IV

His father is the one on Ireland's rich list, but John Dorrance IV gets in by default. While daddy, an heir to the Campbell's soup fortune, moved to Ireland in 1994 with his Finnish wife, to avail of our benevolent tax regime, his son John IV, has been a regular fixture on the London society circuit, having previously dated TV star Donna Air.

Apart from that he has kept a very low profile and hasn't been pictured stepping out with another woman since. Chunky, hearty, smooth – insert your quirky soup pun here, but whatever way you look at it – this one's as sexy a dish as they come on an annual rich list.

Paddy McKillen

Whatever 'it' is, businessman McKillen has it. His fighting spirit, his defiance in the face of adversity, his willingness to call all-out war against the powers that be, have made him a 'fuerza que se contará con'. And that makes him more alluring to women than sharp suits or a sun-kissed appearance ever could. It's unfortunate what he has had to go through to end up with his picture in the papers after avoiding the press all these years, but no doubt there's plenty of women who love it when he lands there. Every cloud and all that.

Irish Independent

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