Clontarf Golf Club given offer to relocate to Haughey estate under housing plan

Paul McGinley drafted in as part of property group’s bid to secure club site for housing

An Irish property developer has approached Clontarf Golf Club with a land swap proposal that would involve the club relocating to 185 acres in Kinsealy that were previously part of the Abbeville estate owned by the late taoiseach Charlie Haughey.

In return, Green Land Capital would get the opportunity to develop the 72 acres in Clontarf for housing.

Some 62 acres of the club's land is leased from Dublin City Council, who would have to consent to any development and rezone the site for housing. The other 10 acres are owned by the members.

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


Green Land Capital has engaged former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley to design an 18-hole championship golf course in Kinsealy, with the Irish golfer presenting his plan at that meeting.

Green Land has agreed an option to buy the Kinsealy land from its owner, the Nishida family, who own the Toyoko Inn hotel chain. The Japanese owners plan to retain ownership of the Gandon-designed house where Mr Haughey and his family lived, and 63 adjoining acres. They bought the Kinsealy lands in 2015 for a reported €5.5 million.

If the proposal succeeds, 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.

A note sent to club members last week by Ian Maguire, chairman of the management committee at Clontarf Golf Club, states that the "overtures" to date did not warrant being presented to members for consideration.

“If a full and detailed proposal is received it will be presented to members,” he added.

His note details how Green Land had outlined plans for a golf course, practice area and clubhouse in Kinsealy, with a transfer not before 2026/27.

Members of the club would have to approve the sale by a special majority.

‘Great opportunity’

Attempts were made to contact Mr Maguire for comment, while no comment was available from Green Land.

When contacted by The Irish Times, Mr McGinley said the potential move represented a “great opportunity for the Clontarf members to own a magnificent parkland golf course, and a modern clubhouse for their future enjoyment. This can be a real win for them.”

This is not the first time that members of Clontarf Golf Club have been approached by a property developer to acquire its lands.

In 2007 they accepted a €125 million deal from Capel Developments that would have resulted in a payout of €100,000 to each full member, with lower amounts for other membership groups.

The club was to relocate to the Portmarnock Links course where a new clubhouse would have been constructed. However, the deal fell apart in 2008 when Capel pulled out as the property crash loomed.

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock is Business Editor of The Irish Times