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To see McNamara when he was swimming in riches is glimpse at the grotesque

Some of the bankrupt property developers who have contributed so much to bringing this country to its knees were in the news again this weekend -- and their stories, as though it were needed, provided evidence of just how grotesquely lavish their lifestyles were during the good times.

Aside from his many properties around the world, Derek Quinlan has no fewer than six Dublin homes for sale at the moment, and that's after he has sold his house on Shrewsbury Road and, just this weekend, a penthouse in the Merrion Hotel that he kept when the commute all the way out to Dublin 4 from town was simply too much to bear.


The most common defence used by these developers, who felt so invincible that they probably thought they could walk on water, is that "we all partied". But did any of us, the questions must be asked, party quite like Bernard McNamara?

Bernard is far from being the worst representative of that period -- everything he owns is up for sale to try and clear some of his company's estimated €1.5bn debts, and unlike many of his contemporaries, he isn't fighting the sale or hiding out abroad.


"I've put all my assets on the line," he said a year ago, "I'm going to stand here and face the music, and I don't expect any sympathy."

A view inside his biggest asset, however -- his Ailesbury Road home, which is on the market at €12.5m -- reveals that maybe he isn't quite as humble as he sounds.

Because once you've glided through the magnificent entrance hall, negotiated your way through a maze of sumptuous reception rooms, and descended the ornate staircase to the vast basement, you're confronted with a large swimming pool. Nothing new there -- hey, we all swam...

This is no ordinary pool, however, because at the touch of a button, the glass panelling above it is lowered on to the pool, creating a dancefloor on top of the water, with a mirrored ceiling on the roof.

It's a small detail, but reveals so much about the grotesque excesses of developers, the sheer madness that drove them to have everything bigger, brasher and better.

A swimming pool that converts into a dancefloor.

McNamara, in perhaps the greatest show of hubris of any developer, wasn't happy with just walking on water.

He also wanted to dance on it.