Rezoning could allow for 5,000 homes on Clontarf Golf Club grounds

Developer proposes members move to new course on Haughey’s Abbeville estate

Property developer Green Land Capital has told Dublin City Council that up to 5,000 new homes could be built on the grounds of Clontarf Golf Club if the 75-acre site is rezoned for residential purposes, and if members of the club agree to move to a new course on lands that were once part of the Abbeville estate in Kinsealy owned by former taoiseach Charles Haughey.

This emerges in a 55-page submission to the council as part of the draft Dublin City Development Plan 2022-2028 by planning consultant Tom Phillips & Associates, on behalf of the developer.

The document asks the council to rezone the land from its current Z9 designation (to preserve and improve recreational amenity and open space) to Z14 to allow for urban regeneration. The consultants suggest 173 units per hectare for the site with building heights in the range of six to 10 storeys. There would also be a neighbourhood centre and a new urban park, with play areas and table tennis tables.

The council currently owns 62 acres of the site, with the golf club holding 10.6 acres and State transport group CIÉ owning 2.6 acres. The golf club enjoys a “long sporting lease” on the grounds, and is in a “strong position in terms of the potential to release the lands for residential purposes”, the document notes.


Subject to agreement with the members, the club would relocate to a “bespoke facility” in the grounds of Abbeville, land that is owned by Toyoko Inn Group. An option has been agreed to acquire 185 acres at Abbeville, where it is proposed to build a championship golf course designed by former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, along with a clubhouse, practice ground, bowling green, pavilion and other facilities.

Rezoning the land would meet the council’s objective for new housing and higher-density development in its administrative area, the consultants suggest. For club members, a move would offer the opportunity to relocate to Abbeville while getting an “economic return for its landholding” on the site.

It also suggests that there might be a role for the State’s Land Development Authority, which is charged with providing affordable homes around the country.

The consultants state that the site is just 4.5km from Dublin city centre and is situated close to the bus corridor on the Malahide Road and the Dart commuter rail line.


News of the land swap was first revealed by The Irish Times in November. Rezoning the land in Clontarf is a key element in delivering this project. The developer would also have to secure agreement from the council and CIÉ as landowners and the members of the golf club, in addition to securing permission from Fingal County Council for the new golf course on the Kinsealy lands. The consultants say that "opposition is assumed" to the proposal.

While not in the document, if the proposal succeeds it is understood that Green Land would look to partner with a leading developer to complete the project. Green Land is led by developer Ray Cotter and his sister Barbara Cotter.

Engagement on this proposal began in late September, with Green Land meeting on November 15th with members of the golf club’s management committee, the president and vice-president and a trustee.

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock is Business Editor of The Irish Times