Publication Details

Murphy, L. & McGuirk, P. (2013). 'Super-rich' Irish property developers and the Celtic Tiger economy. In I. Hay (Eds.), Geographies of the Super-Rich (pp. 77-93). Cheltenham, United Kingdom: Edward Elgar Publishing.


The story of the rise and fall of the Celtic Tiger property developers offers insights into the role of the super-rich in material and symbolic place-making. Irish developers were not only involved in the physical construction of place(s); they were very public actors in the construction of discourses of Ireland as a place of opportunity, entrepreneurialism and success. In contrast to the relative anonymity of high-rolling financial traders, property developers were celebrated media stars. Indeed, as the property boom gathered pace, stories of past property successes arguably became an essential prerequisite for mobilizing new rounds of property investment. Developers with the 'Midas touch' were feted by the general and business media (both local and international) and courted by politicians. In this chapter we provide an account of the rise and impact of super-rich property developers in the Celtic Tiger economy. Two case studies of the changing fortunes of developers are presented which, not coincidentally, mirror the fortunes of the lrish economy. In the case studies, we reflect critically on the role of the developers' conspicuous consumption and personal wealth in mobilizing the huge bank loans on which their urban imagineering was founded.