Today I publish with Michelle’s continuing help my 100th blog. That in itself is amazing because even though my younger brother Martin has been doing a regular blog from France where he runs, with his wife Sile, a very special B&B I would never have thought of doing one without the encouragement of Greg Canty of Fuzion who helps us with our PR work.
My blogs have been read more than 14,000 times in nearly every country in the world. I hope that some of them have been of interest to somebody somewhere.
I have written many times about the economic issues in Ireland and the financial difficulties that many Irish people had to deal with as a result of the collapse in property values and the Irish banking system.
This blog, as it is my 100th, is not going to be about doom and gloom. Rather it is about two bizarre stories of crazy, but nice things that happened, during Ireland’s period of madness which lead to the ultimate collapse of our economy.
The first I know to be true and it concerns one of our local golf clubs in Cork, Douglas golf Club which is situated on about 100 acres about 2 miles from Cork City on a wonderful raised site with gorgeous views of the city.
Before all hell broke loose and in the so called building boom times, the club was approached by a house property developer who quite rightly felt that the golf club land would make a fantastic site for building some high quality houses.
The deal was that the developer would build two new golf courses a few miles out the road with a state of the art clubhouse and practice facilities, in exchange for the original golf course land. Not only that but to make sure the club would agree to move that was a sweetener in the sum of over €5million paid over at the time of agreement, to the club, with no strings attached.
There was some reluctance naturally on behalf, particularly of the older members, to move but the unconditional cash on the table proved to be sufficient inducement.
And so the club waited for their new courses and clubhouse to be built and the members happily played away awaiting developments.
What happened next was unexpected as the developer when bust and the golf club were left in situ with over €5 million in the bank…happy days! The only difficult decision the members now have to make is whether to build a new clubhouse on what is a wonderful site or to do some work on their current clubhouse. I say build a new on as they have the money in the bank.
The second story is I think even better but I cannot vouch for its veracity. I know the man and I have visited the hotel but I have never checked the story with him. It is a story that is too good not to be true!
The man in question had a site in Dublin in a good location and was approached at the height of the boom by one of Ireland’s top developers to see if he might be interested in selling. He confirmed he might be (he was from Kerry) and so they agreed to meet and the developer’s solicitor was present at the meeting.
At the meeting the developer said he was a very busy man and he wasn’t going to be messed with and that he would make one and only one offer and he could take it or leave it.
Fair enough says the owner of the site and true to his word the developer made an offer and without hesitation the site owner agreed and they shook hands. The deal was done.
He then duly returned to his wife who naturally said “well did you sell the site?” “I did” said he. “Good man” says she “and what price did you get for it?” “I don’t know” says he. “How do you mean” says she with her voice level rising somewhat “you don’t know what you got for it”.
“Well it was like this” he says. “He made me an offer which was either €8 million or €18 million and I was not sure which he said but whichever figure it was” he said “I was going to take it anyway”!
The nice end to the story is that when the contract appeared the price was indeed the higher of the two figures and as a result a fine new hotel has been built!
True story or not? I will leave it up to you.
Ted Dwyer family Business