Real Estate

Our Real Estate Department is recognised as outstanding in Ireland and is consistently rated as a tier 1 practice by leading legal directories.  This innovative and hugely experienced team has been heavily involved in the majority of landmark real estate transactions in Ireland in recent years.  Our clients include large institutional investors, international private equity funds, receivers, public and local authorities, developers and major Irish, UK and US retailers.  Our lawyers have detailed knowledge of the Irish property market and keep constantly up to date with evolving trends.  The firm maintains close contact with the leading intermediaries in the market and is a regular sponsor and contributor to property industry events in Ireland.  We pride ourselves on our commercial, robust and pragmatic advice with its constant aim of bringing projects to successful conclusions.

Areas of expertise include:

  • Acquisition and disposal
  • Development
  • Planning and environmental issues           
  • Construction
  • Financing
  • Joint ventures and ownership structures
  • Tax
  • Management structures
  • Landlord and tenant issues
  • Sale and leasebacks
  • Qualifying Investor Alternative Investment Funds ‘QIAIFs’ (including the use of ICAVs and other structures)
  • Loan portfolio acquisition and disposal
  • Student Accommodation
  • Multi-family development, private rented sector 'PRS', student accommodation, primary health care development

Our team has been heavily involved in most of the high profile property investment transactions in recent years. We have amassed significant expertise in distressed real estate transactions, both direct investment and indirectly through loan portfolio acquisition.  In tandem with our Asset Management Group, we are experienced in the tax efficient structuring of investment through the use of property QIFs (Qualifying Investor Fund). We completed the first ICAV conversion in Ireland in 2015 and have since acted for several funds in the conversion of their companies to ICAVs.

We have a particularly strong knowledge and reputation in the retail and leisure sectors.  We also have substantial expertise in property joint venture arrangements.

The William Fry Real Estate team are proud to have written the chapter for Ireland in The Legal 500: Real Estate Comparative Guide 2018. This chapter in the form of a Q&A provides an overview of Irish real estate law. It will be of particular interest to those new to Irish real estate law. It covers the most pertinent issues including ownership structures, restrictions, transfers, taxes and environmental contamination.

Click here to download the Irish chapter, or click here to view it online.

Legal 500 Real Estate 2018






Our recent experience includes: 

  • Acted for Hammerson and Allianz Real Estate, the successful purchaser on the largest real estate related transaction in the history of the Irish state, Project Jewel, a loan portfolio with a par value of EUR€2.6bn
  • Advising NAMA on the €300m development of the iconic Boland’s Mill in the heart of Dublin docklands, 
  • Acted for York Capital, Oaktree Capital and Clarendon Properties on the purchase of Project Hazel Portfolio comprising of 3 shopping centres - Wilton Centre Cork, Drogheda Retail Park and Gateweay Centre Galway.
  • Advised Value Retail on the development and expansion of Kildare Village outside Dublin, one of the its large portfolio of outlet shopping villages across Europe and Asia, including Bicester Village outside London
  • Carried out full due diligence and negotiated contracts and structuring join venture arrangements within a €120m ICAV structure for York Capital and Clarendon Properties in respect of Wilton Shopping Centre
  • Acted for NAMA in the €30m sale of The Liffey Collection which comprised of modern office blocks in Dublin city centre
  • Acted for Hibernia REIT on the €50m acquisition of Block B, Central Quay, Dublin 2
  • Carried out full due diligence and negotiated contract for sale in respect of the purchase of the Bloodstone building from Blackstone
  • Acted for Global Student Accommodation Investment Management in the acquisition of a site in Dublin 8

New Stamp Duty Rate for Bulk Purchases of Residential Properties

On 19 May 2021, Ireland passed a financial resolution introducing a new stamp duty rate of 10% targeted at the “bulk buying” of certain residential units.

What Does SCARP Mean For Landlords?

We consider the provision for terminating leases in the government's proposed summary rescue process for small companies (or SCARP) and what it means for landlords.

Public Private Partnership Contracts – Tax Appeals Commissioner's Recent Determination Provides Clarity for Foreign Shareholders

The Tax Appeals Commission recently determined that the public private partnership contract between a certain Irish company and the National Road Authority did not constitute an interest in Irish land. Accordingly, the shares disposed of by an EU company in the Irish company did not derive their value from Irish land and thus were not within the charge to Irish capital gains tax.

Land Development Agency Bill 2021 – What do you Need to Know?

The Land Development Agency Bill 2021 (Bill) has been published, which aims to put the Land Development Agency on a statutory footing. What are the key features of the Bill and what does it mean for those engaged in property development and property finance in the private and public sectors?

Sports Bulletin – A Year in Review in Sport

The William Fry Sports Group look back at the sports sector in 2020

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We are consistently ranked as one of the leading Commercial Property law firms in Ireland.


  • William Fry's Real Estate team have been described as "committed, hard working, commercial, responsive" as well as having a "great set of values and good positive culture." Another client adds that they are "excellent to deal with. They have a strong team in all sectors. They are hard working and provide really good advice." Legal 500 2020
  • They are a "distinguished real estate practice acting for an enviable client base of financial institutions and investment funds on property and portfolio transactions." Clients highlight the team's "highly commercial and thoughtful advice." Chambers Europe 2020
  • A client says "incredible. They have a great understanding of our business and will go the extra mile to assist us. They have always shown an impressive understanding of our requirements". Another client states:  "their ability to think commercially and practically while maintaining legal rigour". ​Chamber Europe 2019
  • Clients praise the team's "innovative approach and ability to solve complex legal issues in a quick manner that is easy for a non-lawyer to understand." "The team is extremely thorough and identifies all issues that are relevant from the client's perspective", says one interviewee." Chambers Europe, 2018 
  • "Clients enthuse that the team is "extremely commercial, practical, good at identifying the pitfalls and extremely responsive."  Interviewees comment that the lawyers "fight hard for the client and do everything for the best interest of the client." Chambers Europe 2017
  • "The team's level of attention to detail is second to none, and the commercial acumen is really impressive." The lawyers really know what they are talking about. These complicated deals only came together due to their expertise and ability to be commercial." Chambers Europe 2016 


Edward Spain

  • According to Chambers Europe 2020, clients say Edward "is pragmatic, responsive, obviously has a lot of experience and understands the market and its challenges."
  • Edward Spain is a respected practitioner providing advice to developers and investors on their structured investments, joint ventures and portfolio acquisitions. Clients are very happy with his responsiveness and transparency, with one source reporting: "We get on well and understand him. I trust him." ​​Chambers Europe 2019 
  • Edward  is noted by interviewees as having "broad technical expertise and vast market experience." Chambers Europe 2018
  • According to Chambers Europe 2017, clients say that Edward is "really commercial and finds the main point to focus on." 
  • In Chambers Europe 2016, clients praise him for being "absolutely superb at handling complex issues," adding: "the level of work he did in a short timeframe was phenomenal." 

Brian O'Callaghan

  • According to Chambers Europe 2020, Brian O'Callaghan is praised by clients for being "very approachable and easy to work with." He is highlighted for his experience in leasing mandates, and is also knowledgeable in high-value transactions and redevelopment projects. 
  • One client notes that Brian is "a great Real Estate lawyer and has a very modern perspective on how a legal team should work. Works really well in a team environment, a very good negotiator." Legal 500 2020
  • Brian is praised for being "very engaging and collaborative. He always has the client's goals at the centre of what he is trying to do." Chambers Europe 2019
  • Market commentators describe Brian as "practical and solution-oriented," going on to explain: "He works with the other side to get the transaction done." Chambers Europe 2018
  • Brian O'Callaghan advises a number of retail clients on entry into the Irish market and on property acquisitions. Clients value that he is "very straightforward to deal with."  Chambers Europe 2017
  • Clients highlight Brian O'Callaghan for dealing with issues "in a proactive manner, discussing matters at length to find the right solution for all parties." Chambers Europe 2016 

Lisa McCarthy

  • Lisa earns praise from clients for her "high level of technical expertise combined with her commercial acumen." Chambers Europe 2018
  • Lisa McCarthy is described as "calm, confident and steely". Legal 500 EMEA 2018
  • Clients highlight her "technical knowledge, commercial awareness, effectiveness and client service." Chambers EMEA 2017

Key Contacts

Edward Spain Partner

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