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Tuesday 28 March 2023 Dublin: 8°C
Photocall Ireland Sean Dunne
# Boom to Bust
Celtic Tiger furniture goes under the hammer at a "fraction" of boom time prices
Upmarket antiques shop that sold fireplaces to people including property tycoon Sean Dunne is having a clear out this weekend.

THERE ARE NOT many businesses that would use Sean Dunne’s lavish Celtic Tiger lifestyle as a marketing tool with the country still battling to revive itself from the excesses of the property boom.

However, antique-homeware suppliers Belle Cheminee yesterday announced it was auctioning off its most exclusive goods by boasting it sold a fireplace to the property tycoon who owes NAMA €185million.

The antiques business based on Capel Street in Dublin is putting €500,000 worth  stock under hammer this Saturday at what they say will be a “fraction of their boom time prices”.

In a press release, the firm said it supplied furniture to “Celtic Tigers” Sean Dunne and Dermot Desmond, along with various Hollywood celebrities and VIP haunts such as Shanahans on the Green, The K Club and The Merrion Hotel.

Belle Cheminee supplied the imposing marble fireplaces for Sean Dunne’s lavish mansion on Shrewsbury Road, in a project that cost over twelve million in total.
Mr. Dunne, now facing bankruptcy over one billion in debts, was one of the many famous property developers who used the Belle Cheminee showrooms as their style marker.

The “Baron of Ballsbridge” recently lost his courtroom battle to stop a petition from Ulster Bank which could see him declared bankrupt in Ireland and the United State. Mr Dunne owes Ulster Bank €164million but the institution was unable to serve court papers while he was in America.

The auction will comprise of around 500 lots including a number of items from Belle Cheminee owner Niall Woods’s own home in Meath.

Niall Woods with one of the fireplaces up for sale (Pic: Matthews Auctioneers)

Upmarket furniture and fireplaces will be sold off with estimates ranging from €100 to €35,000.  The  top lot of the sale is a George II verde antico and a statuary marble chimney piece in the style of William Kent with a €25,000 starting price.

Renowned tastemaker

Woods said he had been convinced to sell off some of his older stock ahead of a refurbishment of his Dublin showroom.

“After nearly 35 years I have finally been persuaded to let go of some  of my favourite older stock and embrace a new contemporary look,” Woods said.

“These are objects I have owned right since the beginning, items I swore I would never sell, and even over one hundred of my favourite  chimneypieces!”

Auctioneer Damien Matthews, said Woods was a “renowned tastemaker” and praised the company for its specialist knowledge of  fireplaces.

“We look forward to working with Niall in presenting at auction a diverse selection of lots from both his personal and business collections,” Matthews said.

Having sold to amongst others, Dermot Desmond, The Merrion Hotel, The K Club, Shanahans on the Green, the quality of this sale is unsurpassed.”

Read:  How Sean Dunne could be declared bankrupt in Ireland… and in the US >

Read: Bankrupt developer Sean Dunne reveals liabilities of €718 million >

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