US billionaire Trump buys Doonbeg golf resort in Co Clare

Property mogul buys five-star Lodge hotel and links in deal worth €15m

US property mogul Donald Trump has swooped in to buy the five-star Doonbeg golf resort in Co Clare.

The flamboyant billionaire and star of the US reality TV show, The Apprentice, acquired the resort from US hedge fund King Street in a deal said to be worth €15 million.

Trump, who already owns a portfolio of 15 golf resorts around the world, is understood to have signed contracts with the owners on Saturday.

The Lodge hotel and links course, spread over 400-acres and along 2½ miles of coast, was put into receivership last month on foot of debts associated with properties on the site, some of which remain unsold.


The receivers Luke Charleton and David Hughes of Ernst &Young (EY) announced today that following a global marketing campaign the resort had been sold to The Trump Organisation, Trump's Manhattan-based conglomerate.

“I am thrilled to announce that we have purchased yet another incredible golf resort,” Trump said. “ Doonbeg is an already terrific property that we will make even better - it will soon be an unparalleled resort destination with the highest standards of luxury.”

Trump, who personal fortune is estimated at $3.5 billion, also announced the Doonbeg resort would be renamed the “Trump International Golf Links, Ireland”.

The Lodge hotel, which consists of 218 hotel suites, an expansive spa and several restaurants will now be managed directly by the Trump Hotel Collection.

Trump’s son, Donald junior, who is vice president of The Trump Organisation, will visit the club tomorrow along with several other company representatives.

Announcing details of the sale, Mr Charleton said: “There was a tremendous level of interest from domestic and international investors in this property,” .

“It is particularly pleasing to have sold this prestigious property to The Trump Organisation who have the vision and resources to take what is an internationally renowned tourism resort to its next stage,” he added.

Locals in Doonbeg today expressed their delight - and relief - that the future of the club has been secured.

Community organisation, the Doonbeg Community Development Ltd was instrumental in putting together the original package of lands with Shannon Development in the 1990s that resulted in Kiawah Partners developing the links course.

The organisation’s chairman, Willie Hanrahan, said: “We’re absolutely delighted with the news as it secures the 200 jobs at the golf course.”

Trump will apparently have no choice but to spend almost €1 million immediately on repairing storm damage at the course.

At yesterday’s February meeting of Clare County Council, a council report on storm damage across Clare confirmed that the bill to repair the links course will cost €954,447.

The report found that the storm damage along the coastal interface with the golf course “was considerable in that the dune face was eroded backwards up to 10 metres to the extent that parts of the golf course were damaged”.

The report found that “requirements in this case include repairs to and reinforcement of the dune face along the beach front and also to fairways, tees, greens and the golf course’s irrigation system”.

A planned protection system proposed by the golf club was turned down by An Bord Pleanála a number of years ago and the golf club have been working on a scaled down proposal.

Separately, Trump today lost his legal challenge to an offshore wind farm project within sight of his exclusive golf resort in Aberdeen.

The businessman's legal team went to court in November to oppose the 11-turbine European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) off the Aberdeenshire coast, claiming it would spoil the view from his luxury golf course.

A petition lodged by Trump International Golf Club Scotland and the Trump Organisation asked the Court of Session in Edinburgh to rule that the Scottish government's approval of the wind farm was unlawful and the decision should be overturned.

But judge Lord Doherty has rejected the legal bid by dismissing the petition. The Trump Organisation said the turbine development is doomed, despite the court ruling. "Today's decision has not altered our unwavering commitment to protect our investment in Scotland," it said.

“We are reviewing Lord Doherty’s decision and will pursue the legal options available to us as recommended by our counsel. “Communities worldwide continue to challenge the destructive proliferation of wind turbines and we will remain a fierce opponent at the forefront of this battle.”

“Despite today’s decision, the EOWDC proposal has numerous economic and legal obstacles that will ultimately prevent its construction.”

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times