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Wednesday 24 January 2018

K Club homes the ultimate status symbols for rich and famous

Donal Buckley

LUXURY K Club houses and apartments were considered the epitome of Irish trophy properties amid the hype that surrounded the lead-up to the Ryder Cup in 2006.

Already the golf club had attracted such canny investors as billionaire Dermot Desmond and EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy.

Some of Ireland's best-known property developers -- although not involved in the development of the K Club themselves -- felt it vital to have a detached house overlooking the Arnold Palmer-designed course.

These included Sean Mulryan, of Ballymore Properties, whose main house was on the Kildare border at Ballymore Eustace; as well as Sean Dunne, who also owned a home in Shrewsbury Road in Dublin 4.

Ireland's rich and famous felt it was a good investment to have a trophy home for entertaining and networking with investors, bankers and prospective business partners.

As one property expert said: "There really was a great buzz about the place in those days leading up to the Ryder Cup."

Just as the market was peaking in 2006 former supermarket tycoon and latterly gym owner Ben Dunne showed canny timing by selling his house in one of the more sought-after sections of the development, known as Churchfields, overlooking the twelfth fairway. He is believed to have reaped a profit by selling it for over €4m.

Boyzone singer Ronan Keating had already sold out two years earlier to Paul Tiernan, who specialises in developing properties for people who desire unique, top-of-the-range homes.

Mr Tiernan decided to demolish Keating's home at 6 Churchfields and rebuild it as a pavilion-style villa and cash in on the Ryder Cup hype by selling it for €5.5m in early 2006. When he couldn't get this price he slashed it to €5m and as the market began to slide he withdrew it from sale.

With the market downturn, the prices for Churchfield houses have been slashed. Last year, 20 Churchfields, which has its own indoor heated swimming pool, was seeking offers of just €1.75m and failed to sell. That was about 60pc less than what Ben Dunne sold it for.

Churchfields is also where Michael Smurfit has his house. It was originally his idea to develop the club and attract such major international golfing events as the Ryder Cup and the European Open.

Irish Independent

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