Wednesday 29 January 2020

Emigrant flies home to snap up landmark beach pub for €755,000

Seamus Burbage: bought McDaniels in Brittas Bay, Co Wicklow, at the auction
Seamus Burbage: bought McDaniels in Brittas Bay, Co Wicklow, at the auction
Tom O’Reilly and his twin daughters Melissa and Emma protest at the auction

Louise Hogan

AN EMIGRANT has returned from Australia to purchase a well-known pub in a popular seaside haunt his family visited when he was a child.

The pub – McDaniels in Brittas Bay, Co Wicklow – was just one of a number of commercial properties, including hotels, bars, fast-food takeaways and a period-listed mansion with its own gate lodge, that went under the hammer at the now familiar Allsop Space property auction yesterday.

The Brittas Bay pub, including eight chalets, eight holiday homes and a plot of land, went under the hammer for €755,000 – far less than the estimated €3m it sold for last time.

After signing on the dotted line, Seamus Burbage, who left Portarlington in Laois for Australia in 1987, said he intended to return it to its former glory.

"It is a prestige property that has got very run down," said Mr Burbage. "I loved Brittas Bay as a kid, my Dad would take us down there."

The consultant for an investment bank in Sydney hopes family members may be interested in taking on a role in the business.

"I want a decent pub and restaurant, and I want the accommodation back to the way it should be," he said. "It is a fantastic opportunity," he added.

Yet outside the doors of the packed function room at Dublin's Shelbourne Hotel, there was a different tale.

Tom O'Reilly, owner of Tara Steel and Engineering, was supported by his placard-wielding twin daughters Emma and Melissa (33) and many friends, after the warehouse where they have run their business for more than two decades was listed for auction by a receiver. It was withdrawn at the 11th hour but is understood to be still up for sale.

Mr O'Reilly said "everything I have will be lost" if the property was sold.

"The reason I'm in trouble with money is, like a lot of sub-contractors in this country, we have been done for hundreds of thousands of euros. There is no law whatsoever to protect us," he said.

As the auctioneer offered up the Watermarque Hotel and Apartment Complex in O'Connell Street, Caherciveen in Co Kerry, for sale, three men describing themselves as creditors stood up to object. The property did not make the reserve price.


Gerard O'Connor, from Tile Art Ltd in Caherciveen, said he was owed €76,000 for tiling and marble supplied; joiner Billy Shine was out of pocket by €60,000. Damien Griffin said his father's firm, David Griffin Builders in Killorglin, was owed €55,000. Mr Shine said those owed money had never been made any offer since it went into liquidation in 2007.

He said they would like the hotel to be open as a facility for the people of Cahirciveen.

Property developer Paul O'Hare, from Portmarnock, Co Dublin, watched as a shopfront building – including three apartments – on Dublin's busy Phibsborough Road was sold by a receiver for €120,000.

"I bought the property in 2006 – I think I have outstanding on it of €1.2m. The place became vacant, I was doing it back up and then the receivers moved in," the developer said.

The father of three young children felt he could have "struggled through" if he had been given a longer term on the mortgage. "I assume the banks just want their money and just want out," he said.

Irish Independent

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