GAA agrees €95m deal with Dublin archdiocese for Clonliffe lands

Ballymore, Hines and Marlet compete to secure 19-acre site from GAA

The archdiocese of Dublin is to receive around €95 million from the GAA in return for 19.12 acres it owns on the site of the old Holy Cross seminary in Drumcondra, Dublin.

The GAA has moved to the second stage in the process of selecting a developer for the Clonliffe Road site which will comprise up to 1,200 apartments and the conversion of existing listed buildings into additional residential accommodation.

It is understood that three parties have been invited to engage with the GAA in “consultations” with a view to clarifying issues surrounding the precise potential of the “Drumcondra portfolio”.

The parties in question are developer Sean Mulryan's Ballymore, US-headquartered property giant Hines, and Pat Crean's Marlet Property Group.


While the GAA’s engagement with the various bidders has yet to get under way, it is understood the organisation is obliged as part of its agreement with the archdiocese to make an initial payment of €23 million for the Clonliffe Road lands this autumn.

‘Break-even figure’

It remains to be seen if the GAA will recover the full €95 million it has agreed to pay the archdiocese from its own sale of the Drumcondra portfolio.

It is understood that none of the three parties selected for the second stage of the structured best-bid process met what one source described as a “break-even figure” for the organisation in the first round of bidding.

However, that situation may change once the GAA clarifies certain issues relating to the portion of the site it requires to be set aside for the provision of sporting and recreational facilities, and its own plans for the development of a hotel.

“The offers could still go above the €95 million figure, but the bidders need to have refinement around the quantum of the lands. If the GAA wants to retain space for an extra pitch, that could reduce the site’s capacity by up to 400 apartments,” said the source.


Agent Hooke & MacDonald is expected to proceed with the sale of the Drumcondra portfolio on a “best bids” basis once the GAA’s consultations with the three remaining parties are concluded.

A spokesman for Hines declined to comment on the matter when contacted by The Irish Times, while efforts to contact Ballymore and Marlet proved unsuccessful.

Efforts to secure a comment from the GAA were similarly unsuccessful.

The archdiocese of Dublin made no specific comment in relation to the €95 million it is set to receive from the GAA for the Clonliffe Road lands.

However, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese did issue a more general statement restating the commitment given by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin in October 2018, that the monies generated by the sale would be used to fund vocations and the ongoing formation of lay people priests within the Dublin diocese.

Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan is Property Editor of The Irish Times