Mike Murphy’s D4 pad, Eamon Ryan’s TV crew and keeping Barry Keoghan’s clothes on

Plus Michael Lynn and the missing penthouse, is James Dyson moving to Waterford, and the value of Artist Hughie O’Donoghue’s Original Sin paintings

Residents’ association meetings at Dublin 4′s Lansdowne Place, the most exclusive apartment development in the country, must be lively affairs. Owners in the moneyed enclave include the no-nonsense Roy Keane, famed party animal Rod Stewart and several of Ireland’s leading property, legal and business types. So who better to chair the meeting than the debonair and diplomatic Mike Murphy, who has just bought a unit in the scheme, where prices range from €825,000 to €6.5 million.

The suave ex-RTÉ star, now 82, presumably knows a good investment when he sees one. Murphy briefly dabbled in property development in the 2000s, working for Pat Doherty’s Harcourt Developments, which built the Titanic Quarter in Belfast. Murphy and his wife Ann Walsh have spent much of their time in recent years in Florida but he is following in the footsteps of his old pal Gay Byrne by getting a foothold in the centre of Dublin. Gaybo quit the northside for an apartment in Shrewsbury Square, Dublin 4, in his latter years so that he wouldn’t have to turn down so many RSVPs. In Ballsbridge, the cultured Murphy, who said recently that he felt like he had wasted two years of his life during lockdown, will be close to the types of theatre openings, art exhibitions and book launches he used to discuss so eruditely on RTÉ's Arts Show.

A TV crew follows Eamon Ryan

A fly-on-the-wall TV crew has been following Eamon Ryan about in recent months. Neasa Ní Chianáin, an independent documentary-maker, is accompanying the minister and his entourage for Behind the Green Curtain, which promises to be an “intimate, haunting behind-the-scenes observational film” about the climate emergency and the people “looking for answers”. Although the Department of the Environment said last week it was “at development and research stage”, the camera crew has accompanied Ryan and his advisers to several climate conferences at home and abroad, including the Mary Robinson Climate Conference last summer in Ballina, Co Mayo.

Soilsiú Films, which is producing, has secured a *€255,000 loan offer from Screen Ireland. Ní Chianáin’s previous projects include In Loco Parentis, an observational documentary about Ireland’s last remaining primary-level boarding school in Headfort, Co Meath, and Young Plato, a documentary about an inspirational principal in a school in Belfast’s working class Ardoyne area. Ryan and his team shouldn’t expect a hagiography, though. Ní Chianáin is perhaps best-known for Fairytale of Kathmandu, which started out as a documentary about a pilgrimage by poet Cathal Ó Searcaigh to his spiritual home in Nepal and turned into a much darker exposé.


*This article was amended on Saturday, February 24th.

Michael Lynn and the missing penthouse

Of all the victims of Michael Lynn, the injustice done to David Timlin and Olivia Joyce from Co Mayo may be the cruelest. In February 2006, the Late Late Show ran a competition for a penthouse apartment in the ski resort of Bansko, Bulgaria, worth €100,000, the biggest prize ever given away by the show. The young couple were a picture of happiness when Pat Kenny revealed them as the winners of the apartment, developed by Lynn’s company, Kendar.

Of course the apartment never materialised. In 2009, the couple took a High Court action against RTÉ and the Sunday Business Post, which had sponsored the prize, but the legal action never progressed, according to court records. The couple did not respond to calls last week.

When we hear about all the money sloshing around RTÉ these days in golden handshakes, it looks even crueler that they were never compensated in any way.

The cost of Original Sin

Artist Hughie O’Donoghue’s Original Sin, a collection of six huge paintings of historical figures, including Michael Collins and William the Conqueror, was one of the highlights of the National Gallery of Ireland’s commemoration of the Decade of Centenaries. But it wasn’t a straightforward commission.

The paintings turned up on a list of donations made under the Section 1003 scheme published by the Department of Arts last week, with a value of €600,000. The gallery confirmed that O’Donoghue retained ownerships of the works following the exhibition and then donated them back to the gallery afterwards. In exchange, the painter received a tax break worth 80 per cent of the value of the donation, or €480,000 to save you doing the maths.

Is James Dyson moving to Waterford?

The sale of Ballynatray House in Co Waterford has been completed but there’s still no confirmation that James Dyson, the vacuum tycoon, is the new owner. The Property Price Register records a sale price of €29.25 million for the period pile, although the figure doesn’t include the rambling estate’s 850 acres, three miles of which front on to the river Blackwater.

We may find out soon enough, though. The property has previously been included on the list of historic homes that open to the public between April and September in return for tax breaks on their restoration. If it opens again this year, expect a slightly larger crowd of day-trippers to show up.

Element Pictures producer’s Ballsbridge home

We know where the Irish celebrations will be next year if Element Pictures scoops any more Oscars. Element producer Andrew Lowe is doing up a house he bought two years ago on St Mary’s Road in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, for €4.75 million. He was recently granted permission by the council for a restoration and extension, which will include a “natural water lap pool” in the back garden.

Just try telling Barry Keoghan to keep his clothes on.

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