Ireland is famous for its beautiful scenery, rich culture, and its love for drinking but of course, there is a lot more to this fascinating country than what meets the eye. Ireland is located in northwestern Europe and has one of the strongest economies in the region that focuses on more technological fields and is a development hub for Europe. Ireland has a knowledge economy which means that most of its yearly revenue comes from high-tech services, life sciences even financial services and fintech. It also has one of the most open economies in the world. The Irish economy was developing rapidly up until the world financial crisis back in 2008, which affected the country quite a bit causing it to go through some serious financial challenges that to some degree, the country is still recovering from. And just as the economy was starting to get stronger the region was hit with the neverending talks and procedures of Brexit further complicating things for Ireland. The country is now facing some of the most uncertain times in Ireland’s history but the economy should still be strong enough to eventually bounce back and get things back to normal.
Ireland has one of the world’s highest standards of living and most people are living in extremely good conditions and have access to basically all the essential services. While the economy has been in decline for the last few months, Ireland is still an economically strong country none the less. Here we’ve combined a list of top ten richest people in Ireland and we will go over their backstory and share with you just how there Irishmen managed to get their wealth and what we can learn from these outstanding billionaires about how to manage our assets and either create an empire of our own or breathe a new life into an existing one.
- Networth: $1.6 billion
- Industry: Building materials
The first person on our top ten list is Eugene Murtagh who managed to build his empire from scratch and create a building materials giant that is one of the most well-known names in the industry all across the world. Eugene did not come from a wealthy family and had to start working at an early age. In the sixties, he worked as a fitter barely making ends meet. Murtagh together with his wife, who actually lived just across the street from him, started the business where the two were making trailers together and then selling them. As the trailer business took off, Murtagh founded Kingspan, a building materials company, in 1971. He has been in the business for the longest time but actually, Murtagh is one of the newer billionaire having hit the number just a couple of years ago. The company is currently managed by his son, Gene Murtagh.
- Networth: $1 billion
- Industry: Electrical appliances
As we mentioned above, Ireland is a country that is very technology-focused. Martin Naughton is a great example of that. The Irish billionaire founded GlenDimplex in 1973 and back then the company was called Glen Electric. The company was originally just 10 people that were operating out of the manufacturing facility in Newry, Country Down, Northern Ireland. Later as the group started to get more income they purchased the leading UK electrical heating company, Dimplex and that’s how Glen electric turned to Glen Dimplex. Over the years Dimplex became one of the biggest manufacturers in the domestic heating appliance and Martin Naughton was the man behind the success. As an engineer himself, he was always deeply involved with the matters of the company, even after Dimplex became more and more powerful reaching larger markets and making more profit. The company has plants in the UK, Republic of Ireland and even the United States with over 20 manufacturing facilities that bring about $1.6 billion of yearly revenue. Naughton has managed to make a company of just 10 people in a manufacturing giant now employing around 8000 workers. Most of his wealth comes from this partifular company and his shares amount to over $240 million but he has some other investments too, like an art collection, properties and the Sunday Tribune newspaper. Naughton has been a part of the Irish business industry for decades and over the years became an icon to those aspiring to make small companies into worldwide enterprises.
- Networth: $2.6 billion
Dermot Desmond is one of Ireland’s most extravagant billionaires. He is a businessman and financier that was born into a middle-class family in County Cork but grew up in Dublin. His career began at Citibank and this is where most of his wealth comes from too. This is where he learned how to od business and how to make an actual profit, a skill that he would find extremely handy during his whole life. After getting settled in Citibank, the soon to be a billionaire opened up National City Brokers in Dublin and it proved to be a huge success, as the company managed to compete with the very well established brokers in the country already had their loyal user base. Later down the line, Desmond sold his company for more than $40 million to Ulster bank, which at the time, was operating under National Westminster Group. He held some positions as a chairman but his hard was always to create more business opportunities and companies. In 1995 he founded International Investment & Underwriting, a private equity firm that the billionaire also used as his investment vehicle. Later he started investing in hotels and resorts and is also interested in football, currently holding the largest individual share in Celtic F.C. The billionaire used to hold have shares in Manchester United as well but sold them in 2005.
- Networth: $2.4 billion
- Industry: Horse racing
- Age: 68
You don’t often see billionaires who gained their wealth from racing but J.P McManus is a rare exception. Limerick-born Irish billionaire got his career start at his family’s construction firm, but later on, decided to branch out and create his own source of income. McManus started as an on-course bookmaker at Markets Field in Limerick where he worked exclusively on a greyhound track. This job turned out to be quite profitable for him and he decided to dedicate his life to improving his skills and delivering better and better results. McManus soon transitioned into horse racing and after he and his wife bought land in County Limerick he started to pursue the career full time. His first horse was Cill Dara which brought a lot of luck in the beginning stages of McManus is a part of National Hunt racing, and he is the single largest owner with over 550 horses under his supervision and training. He acquired an impressive amount of wealth over the years, training horses and molding the champions out of them. The Irish billionaire owns an estate in Barbados, as well as a residence next to Martintows Stud which cost the billionaire just over $200 million.
- Networth: $2.7 billion
- Industry: Horse-breeding
- Age: 71
It would be hard to find a country where becoming a billionaire from horseriding and horse0breeding is possible but in Ireland, they definitely take their horse races very seriously. Magnier had to take care of his family from the age of 15 as his father passed away at a young age. From this experience, the Irish billionaire learned the work ethic and the importance of determination for success and survival. Down the line, he moved out of his small town and started a stud farm business named Coolmore Stud, which has now turned into a multi-million euro endeavor. This business has branches in Versailles, Kentucky, and New South Wales. While he did most of the work himself, he did get some help from his father-in-law who was a champion racehorse trainer. His father-in-law, Vincent O’Brien and Vernon’s Pools magnate, Robert Sangster developed some of the best racing horses worldwide and had outstanding breeding stock. With the help of these two professionals, Magnier soon became the worldwide leader in this business and the company is still as relevant to the industry as it was in its most successful years. The billionaire does have other ventures, owning shares in Manchester United F.C. and having multiple million-dollar residencies.
- Networth: $4.8 billion
- Industry: Mass Media
- Age: 61
This next billionaire on our list has a more conventional business. Denis O’Brien manages Communicorp, a mass media enterprise mostly focusing on its radio presence. The billionaire is also interested in aircraft leasing and manages Aergo Capital, utilities support company Acvato, has stakes in petroleum companies and football clubs. O’Brien’s father was a salesman and Deni learned a lot of his communication skills through him as e often accompanied him on his business trips. He was always an outstanding student and even got a scholarship for an MBA in Corporate finance at the University of Boston. Tony Ryan, an owner of the aircraft leasing company took O’Brien under his wing when he hired him as his personal assistant. His income come from both, the telecommunication company that he founded as well as energy, aerospace and industrial service companies. Commuicrop is a media holding that operates across Europe. Denis O’Brien founded the company in Ireland in 1989, forming independent stations in different countries. And as far as his aircraft leasing goes, He founded Aergo Capital in 1999, with his partner Fred Browne, but not the Irish billionaire is no longer involved in the managerial aspects of the aircraft leasing company.
- Networth: $5.6 billion
- Industry: Finances
- Age: 63
John Grayken was born in America but has spent most of his life in Ireland. He is the founder of the private equity firm Lone Star. Grayken had a quite privileged upbringing and was born in the suburbs of Boston. He got his BA in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. He began his professional career and Morgan Stanely after successfully completing his MBA. At the multinational investment bank Grayken got the experience and the skills he needed to create his own business and manage it successfully in the long run. He also got to work together with Texas billionaire Robert Bass, before starting his own company, Lone Star. While the company was doing just fine in the U.S, for tax purposes Grayken decided to move it to Ireland and became an Irish citizen. While he might not be an Ireland born and raised businessman, he has been there for 20 years now and it seems like the Irish taxing regulations fit the company just fine. To make up for the damage to his reputation as a tax refugee, he started a few charity programs. Grayken gave $25 million to Boston Medical Centre to create the BMC Grayken Center for Addiction. The billionaire is passionate about destigmatizing addictions but also promotes the importance of education and gives young people a chance to get education for free.
- Networth: $15.5 billion
- Industry: Construction
Pallonji Mistry is the richest person in Ireland. An Indian born billionaire acquired his wealth as a construction tycoon. He has investments in Ireland and in India as well and focuses almost exclusively on construction. Mistry is the largest individual shareholder in Tata Group, India’s largest private conglomerate. Mistry father was the first to buy the shares in Tata sons back in the 1930s and since then their investment continued to grow and grow. Mistry’s stake right now stands at 18.9%, which is where the majority of the family money comes from. But Pallonji wanted to create his own business and so Shapoorji Pallonji Group came to life. The group has built some of Mumbai’s most famous buildings, the Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank, the Grindlays Bank, the Standard Chartered Bank, the State Bank of India and many more important residencies. Pallonji is a chairman of the group to this day, even though he is almost 91. The main reason why Shapoorji gave up his Indian citizenship is that he married an Irish woman, Patsy Perin Dubash. But besides that, Pallonji became familiar with Ireland during his years at Imperial College London. Mistry owns a 200 acres stud farm in Ireland as well as a huge estate in Pune, India