THE former home of Ryanair founder Tony Ryan sold for just over €12m last October, becoming the most expensive property sold across the State in 2016.
The palatial Lyons Demesne in Celbridge, Co Kildare, was sold on October 4 last year for just a fraction of its original asking price. In 2009, two years after Mr Ryan died, it was valued at €60m.
The home was among 511 residential properties sold for more than €1m last year, an analysis of the Property Price Register shows.
It reveals that the number of high-end homes trading hands has risen by almost 8pc year-on-year. In 2015, some 474 €1m-plus homes were sold.
The register shows an overall drop in the number of properties sold throughout 2016. This is due to a combination of factors, including Central Bank lending rules which impacted on the ability of buyers to secure a mortgage, coupled with the low pace of new-home construction.
But the register reveals that at the upper end of the market, demand is brisk. Unsurprisingly, the capital and surrounding counties continue to draw more buyers seeking a luxury home.
Of the 511 €1m-plus homes which sold throughout 2016, 455 were in Dublin, followed by 17 in Wicklow, seven in Kildare and three in Meath.
Outside the greater Dublin area, 18 were sold in Cork. There were three in Kerry, two in Wexford and one each in Limerick, Clare, Westmeath, Waterford, Tipperary and Sligo.
Total investment in these homes stood at almost €838m, with an average selling price of €1.6m each.
Here we outline the top 10 most expensive homes sold last year, according to the register.
1: Lyons demesne, Celbridge, Co Kildare
The most expensive home sold last year, this estate dates from the 17th century and cost former Ryanair boss Tony Ryan £3.5m (€4.4m) when he purchased it in 1996. He subsequently spent some £80m (€101m) restoring it to its former grandeur.
The sale was completed on October 4 last, and the Property Price Register records that it fetched €12,073,334. It had been on the books of Knight Frank. Considered one of the most significant estates in the country, it was bought by UCD in the 1960s before being sold to Mr Ryan.
Aside from the estate gardens, it also features a stocked lake, stud farm, gallops, stables and five lodges.
2: 'Alston', 9 Temple Road, Dartry, Dublin 6
Sold for €8.725m on May 18 last year, 'Alston' sits on one acre, and a separate transaction appears to include an adjoining coach house. That brings the total price tag for both properties to €10.2m.
The home was sold by barrister Vincent Foley and his wife, Helen, who lived in the property since the late 1980s. It had been on the books of Sherry FitzGerald.
Neighbours include the Brazilian and Nigerian ambassadors as well as John Dorrance III, the billionaire behind the Campbell's soup empire.
3: 'St dominic's', 5 Temple Gardens, Dublin 6
The family home of the late barrister and former attorney general Rory Brady, the property sold for €6.5m on April 22 last. A large detached redbrick, 'St Dominic's' sits on one third of an acre and is located on one of the country's most expensive streets. Sherry FitzGerald were the agents.
4: 'Beulah', Harbour Road, Dalkey, co Dublin
Sold on September 15 for €6m, the 465-square-metre house sits on 0.7 hectares and enjoys use of a private harbour at Rocklands while commanding views of Dublin Bay.
Dating from the 1840s, its previous owners include the family of the late Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald's wife, Joan; the Dunlop family, and the original owner of the retail chain Golden Discs, Ted Rogers, who purchased the home in the late 1970s. Sherry FitzGerald were the agents.
5: 51 Ailesbury Road, Dublin 4
In 1995, this three-storey detached home on one of the country's most exclusive streets was sold for £700,000 (€889,000). On October 28 last, it fetched €5.9m, through Sherry FitzGerald. The five-bed property, extended to 530sqm over the years, sold for €200,000 more than its asking price. It includes parking for five cars and is next door to the French ambassador's residence.
6 'Subiaco', 1 Temple Gardens, Dublin 6
Sold for €5.85m on July 1 last, 'Subiaco' has a history of commanding high prices - in 2006, at the height of the boom, it sold for just over €9m. Sherry Fitzgerald sold.
7 Kilbride Hill House, Herbert Road, Bray, Co Wicklow
Sold for €5m on January 25 last, the three-bay two-storey house was built around 1880 and was the former residence of the Danish ambassador.
It is described in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage as having an "eclectic appearance", and planning permission has been sought to build 46 homes on the site. A protected structure, the house will be retained as a private residence.
8 'shearwater', Templenoe, Kenmare, Co Kerry
Sold for €2.7m on August 3 last, the thatched house was built in 2010 and sits on 6.5 acres on a site overlooking Kenmare Bay.
It includes self-cleaning windows, underfloor heating and programmable lighting.
9 Glebe House, Lisheen, Church Cross, co Cork
Sold for €2.25m on March 23, Glebe House sits on nine acres along the River Ilen, and features guesthouses, tennis courts and a private pier.
Measuring 743 square metres, it was originally constructed in 1784 as a glebe house for the nearby Aughadown Church. Savills sold the property.
10 'Woodlawn', Sunday's Well Road, Cork city
Sold on November 18 for €2.195m, Woodlawn is a four- bedroom detached property sitting on a hilltop overlooking the Lee. The house was built in the 1830s for the O'Sullivans, a family of woollen drapers in the city, and includes 1.2 acres of gardens. Sold through Savills.