Wednesday 16 October 2019


1. U2 €900m

U2 Ltd, set up to deal with royalty payments, has been moved to the Netherlands, which has no tax on royalties, six months ahead of the imposition of a cap on tax breaks for artists in Ireland.

The band, which has traditionally split earnings equally among Bono, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen, the Edge and manager Paul McGuinness, has begun to divide up its vast portfolio among their respective families.

Last October Geranger, a consortium consisting of Sean Mulryan's Ballymore Properties, Patrick McKillen and August Partners (representing U2), were selected as preferred bidders for the U2 Tower. Bono backs a private equity fund, Elevations Partners, which owns a $300m stake in Forbes magazine.

2. Michael Flatley €590m

The superhoofer, 50 next year, has amassed a small fortune from Riverdance, Lord of the Dance, and his latest offering, Celtic Tiger. The former labourer is resident in Monaco, but also owns a 200-acre estate and castle in Co Cork, worth about €65m. He has a wide range of investments.

3. Moya Doherty and John McColgan €172m

The couple continue to make big money from Riverdance, the show they created for the interval of the 1985 Eurovision song contest.

Their musical, The Pirate Queen, did not do well having its Broadway run cut short last July. The Pirate Queen is said to have been the most expensive musical ever, costing €20m. The couple have other investments.

4. Enya €128m

Eithne Ni Bhraonain hasn't looked back since she left the family's band, Clannad, a quarter of a century ago. One of just four entertainers in the 'real' top 100, the 46-year-old has sold over 70 million albums without touring, a phenomenon dubbed "enyanomics".

Film soundtracks, notably for Lord of the Rings, and a US and UK No 1 with P Diddy have kept the bank manager happy.

5. Van Morrison €74m

Morrison, 62, from Belfast, who has sold over 20m albums during his singing career, is on the verge of re-entering our top 100, just €1m short of the €75m entry fee. This month he released Keep it Simple, his first album in two years. Last year saw no less than three compilations released, with Still on Top -- The Greatest Hits, reaching No 2 in the UK charts.

6. Cranberries €60m

Singer Dolores O'Riordan has no record contract but in the past few months has sold 600,000 copies of her new solo album Are You Listening?

The band's 1993 album, Everybody Else is Doing It, So Why Can't We? remains Ireland's best-selling album after U2's The Joshua Tree. Their music features regularly in Holywood films.

7. Chris de Burgh €59m

The singer has cleverly invested money from 40 million album sales, notably in property. De Burgh's latest album The Storyman performed better than expected.

8. Graham Norton €42m

Norton's So Television production company, in which he has a 50 per cent stake, is worth over €45m. BBC paid the 45-year-old Cork man €15m to switch from Channel 4.

9. Colin Farrell €38m

Farrell's most lucrative role to date was Alexander the Great, accounting for about a quarter of his total wealth. The 31-year-old Dubliner, who auditioned for Boyzone, 'starred' in Ballykissangel, as well as, unwittingly, on the website, along with former girlfriend, the Playboy model Nicole Narain. He is currently filming The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.

10. Westlife €36m

Signed a decade ago by Simon Cowell and managed by Louis Walsh, Westlife have now sold 40m records. They make as much from merchandising as they do from record sales or concerts. They released their eighth album in November, which reached No 1 in the UK charts and was the fifth most successful album of the year. The band will play Croke Park this year to mark their 10th anniversary.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News