Farmer-turned-property developer Eamon Cleary passed away aged just 52 in 2012, leaving most of his estate to his wife and eight children. The Meath man built up an extensive portfolio of commercial, retail and residential real estate in New Zealand.
Cleary, who left school aged just 11, spent the first half of his career trading in agri and building supplies in the Border region surrounding Inniskeen in Monaghan. For most of the 1980s, cattle growth promoters were legal, and the canny trader was reputed to have been one of the first in Ireland to cash in on that market.
His mounting gains saw him secure a farm of 250 acres on the outskirts of Navan, with most of the cost reputed to have been covered by the sale of the milk quota and silage. The farm was subsequently sold for development.
However, it was his move to New Zealand in the 1990s that proved to be the real break, with Cleary getting into dairy farming just as the industry really started to take off. New Zealand's National Business Review estimated his fortune at 1bn before he died. The family is thought to have donated large sums to charity.