Saturday 24 February 2018

A birthday, new home and new baby, all on one day

Mark Hilliard

PUT these in order of priority: celebrating a birthday, buying a new home or the birth of a first child. Or, if you're brave enough, why not do it all in the one day?

John Kelly (29), from Carlow, did just that.

He just about found time to buy his dream home at yesterday's auction in the Shelbourne Hotel before running back to catch the birth of his first child at the Rotunda Hospital. Now that's some kind of birthday.

"The only way to keep my girlfriend in her hospital bed was for me to come here to that auction and buy the house," said the 29-year-old after his tense, but short-lived, bidding war.

It's not exactly clear what part of his hectic afternoon he was most nervous about but, slightly rattled after buying the three-bed semi-detached house in Naas, Co Kildare -- for just €144,000 -- he ran back to priority number one.

"I'm still a little bit shaken," said the forestry worker, who arrived back with the finest birthday present he could find his unborn child -- a home to grow up in.

There were plenty of other good news stories at the Shelbourne yesterday as around 850 people squeezed into the function room to snap up a bargain, or simply sneak a peak at those who did.

And the room was full of every kind of potential property purchaser -- families with small children, well-heeled business types, foreigners, speculators, traders, developers and humble first-time homeowners.

To one side of the auctioneer, phone lines were jammed with calls from exotic destinations such as Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore, while journalists from Holland and Denmark scuttled around the room trying to make sense of it all.

Friends Gerard Maloney (32) and Mathieu Leguet (31) snapped up one of the day's biggest bargains -- a two-bed maisonette in Glasnevin for €55,000. They plan to move in eventually, but for now they are happy to leave it to an elderly friend who lives there.

"There was another one in the area going for €120,000," said Mathieu, illustrating just what was possible at the Allsops/Space auction.

However, the main event was indisputably the sale of a house on Ailesbury Road, a six-bedroom mansion of the kind that fetched over €10m in the days when property wasn't a dirty word.

As the bidding started, the room fell silent before the hammer crashed at €2.35m.

In contrast, a young family huddled in the corner of the room, quietly hoping their time might come too.

"If there is something really cheap, we will put up our hand but otherwise we would want to go and see the house first," said Andy Vieleckis, alongside partner Sanita and their one-year-old son Robert.

The dream is alive, and yesterday it was in abundance at the Shelbourne.

Irish Independent

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