Prostitutes operate from an apartment at the exclusive K Club.

Vice girls go up-market

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THEY WERE the jewel in the crown of the Celtic Tiger property empire.

But now €1 million apartments at the exclusive K Club golf resort have been taken over by one of Ireland’s last boom trades – the sex industry.

A Sunday World investigation has found a nest of hookers working out the plush apartments that can command rent of €5,000 a month. They are among the few clients who can afford the prices at the famed Ryder Cup resort which is half owned by struggling NAMA developer Gerry Gannon. He could never have imagined that foreign prostitutes would use the exclusive club to sell sex at the knock-down price of just €100. Just four years ago the chic designer pads were the hottest properties on the market where no expense was spared on fitting out the luxury development.

Potential buyers even had to be approved by other residents before they were allowed to own one of the properties. But now indebted developer Gannon, had to get permission from NAMA to sell off his 49 per cent share of the K Club.

        Apartment number 820 in the Ladycastle development, where ‘Amanda’ was offering sex for sale, overlooks the Arnold Palmer-designed Smurfit golf course. The plush designer bedroom with a view of the famous golf course is where the young hooker offered kinky sex acts for cash. The development was built in time for the hugely-hyped Ryder Cup in 2006. The heady days of the Celtic Tiger are gone and now a company is still trying sell off shares in the apartments to wealthy golfing tourists. The apartment being used a vice den is just a minute’s walk from the Smurfit Clubhouse, giving golfers the opportunity for a 19th hole of a different kind.

        Various properties advertised for rent at Ladycastle quote rental figures from €600 to €4,000 a month. Most are aimed at attracting well-heeled golf tourists to the resort, although cut-price deals mean that rooms in the nearby hotel are also on offer at €220 per night including a round of golf. The apartments come with double membership of the K Club, which is estimated to be worth €60,000 per person alone. The hooker, who advertised on a website run by convicted pimp Peter McCormick, described herself as 20-year-old Liberian. The west-African country is one of the poorest in the world after decades of civil war and exploitation. For just €100, she offered 30 minutes full sex, including various sex acts as well as ‘role-play’, ‘foot fetish’, ‘spanking’ and ‘uniforms.’

“Hi guys a new girl in town, hot like fire, come and see it for yourself,” her advert boasted. Would-be punters are directed to the Ladycastle apartments in the grounds of K Club in Straffan, crossing over a bridge built over the Liffey. They are instructed to park park away from the gates and walk through to the apartment block before calling again. After giving the exact address she answered the door, wearing just silk panties, a bra and black stiletto heels which clicked loudly on the polished Italian marble staircase. The following day Amanda had moved on and another hooker advertised her services being available also at the K Club.

        So-called ‘touring escorts’ are regularly moved around various locations both in Ireland and abroad, sometimes spending

just a few days at any given address. Although they claim to be ‘independent’, many of the prostitutes are controlled by criminal pimps such as Martin ‘The Beast’ Morgan or Peter McCormick. Other smaller players such as Samantha Blandford-Hutton and her brother Reggie have aped the successful business model of the bigger sleaze merchants.

Last week there were three prostitutes using the K Club’s address to advertise on McCormick’s multi-million euro earning website.

Photographs and text on the internet adverts leave very little to the imagination.

        Laly told would-be punters: “I am a young and cute girl from Italy, if you would like to find out more about me and my services please call and I will give you an unforgettable time.” She too offered to perform various sexual acts for €200 an hour. During the Ryder Cup in 2006, €200 wouldn’t have got a paying punter that close to the golf course.

        Designed by golfing legend Arnold Palmer, golf enthusiasts still travel from all over the world to play the course. Marketing of the Ladycastle apartments was focused on their ease of access to the golf course and facilities at the luxury K Club. Built by Menolly Homes the in time for the event, some properties at the golf resort went for a staggering €3 million. But now there are reports that their value may have dropped by 70 per cent and last year a company was appointed to sell ‘fraction ownership’ of the properties. While the course may still be popular, the company which owns the complex, Bishopcourt Investments lost €8 million in 2008. It is reported that the company is seeking to defer repayment of debts totalling €55 million. Troubled developer Gerry Gannon was this year given permission by NAMA to sell his 49 per cent stake in the company.

        The other main shareholder is the high-flyer Michael Smurfit.

Owners of properties at the complex, including Charlie McCreevy, have been hit by plummeting prices. One apartment, similar to the one used by Amanda, is on the market with an asking price of €1.4 million. The five-star K Club Hotel was first built in the 1830s as a private house until it was bought by the Jefferson Smurfit Group and converted into a hotel in 1991. Michael Smurfit and Gerry Gannon bought the complex in 2005 for a reported €115 million and spent several millions up-grading it. During the September 2006 Ryder Cup tournament, the K Club became the busiest heliport in the world, as major golfing and media stars, including Tiger Wood, were flown in and out. It was claimed owners of the properties on the course earned as much as €50,000 in rent during the three-day tournament. And Amanda and her colleagues now appear to be turning over a profit in the complex that was once the jewel in the crown of the Celtic Tiger.


Eamon Dillon, Sunday World, 26 September 2020.

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