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, Droghed 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

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


  • 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 
  • "This team is dedicated and solution driven, really going the extra mile to get the what the client wants. The lawyers are also approachable and humble. I think the firm is a fantastic service provider."  Chambers Europe, 2015
  • William Fry’s ‘proactive and practical’ team advised the Bank of Ireland on selling The Capital Collection property portfolio. ‘Stand-out lawyer’ Andrew Muckian heads the team, which includes, the 'technically strong' Karen Sheil and the ‘vastly experienced’ Patricia Kenny.  Legal 500 EMEA, 2015 
  •  "The team has the legal knowledge, but doesn't focus on being academic; rather they look at what the client requires and advise accordingly." "The lawyers are very commercial, they will explain legal matters and the implications they have in our situation; we have confidence in the advice they give us." Chambers Europe, 2014 
  • William Fry has expertise in the distressed asset and distressed debt sectors of the property market. It recently advised Deutsche Bank on the acquisition of a significant loan book from PTSB. Andrew Muckian’s team includes Patricia Kenny, Edward Spain and Karen Sheil, who is ‘a safe pair of hands in difficult negotiations’.  Legal 500 EMEA, 2014 
  • Sources say: “The firm is a go-to for big questions. The team has great expertise, and reflects on what the problem really is: they don't just think like lawyers.”  Chambers Europe, 2013 


Edward Spain

  • Clients say that Edward Spain is "really commercial and finds the main point to focus on."  Chambers Europe 2017
  • Clients praise him for being "absolutely superb at handling complex issues," adding: "The level of work he did in a short timeframe was phenomenal." Chambers Europe 2016 
  • Edward is "highly regarded and meticulous". Chambers Europe, 2015
  • Edward Spain is a 'deal-closer’.  Legal 500 EMEA, 2015
  • Edward Spain represented Friends First in the EUR20 million sale of St Martin's House. Peers recognise him as a "fine practitioner" and particularly note his involvement with NAMA-related transactions.  Chambers Europe, 2014
  • Edward Spain is considered “excellent. You can shoot a query at him and he will get back quickly.”  Chambers Europe, 2013
  • Edward Spain is ‘very good at plotting a road map’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2013

Andrew Muckian

  • Andrew Muckian stands out for development and property investment matters. Clients highlight that he is "very thorough and good at identifying solutions."  Chambers Europe 2017
  • The ‘savvy’ Andrew Muckian advised Hammerson and Allianz Real Estate on the €1.85bn acquisition of the Project Jewel loan portfolio from NAMA. Legal 500 2017
  • Interviewees say: "He proved extremely efficient, commercial and practical with a good legal brain. He was able to bring commercial focus to an extremely tight transaction."  Chambers Europe 2016 
  • Andrew remains "very highly rated".  Chambers Europe, 2015
  • Andrew Muckian is a 'stand out lawyer'. Legal 500 EMEA, 2015
  • Department head Andrew Muckian recently assisted Kennedy Wilson with the acquisition of 420 residential units for development. He is well respected by peers, particularly in the area of retail leases.  Chambers Europe, 2014
  • Andrew Muckian is described as "unflappable and practical, and will highlight risks without labouring the point." Chambers Europe, 2013 
  • Lead partner Andrew Muckian is admired across the market. Legal 500 EMEA, 2013 

Karen Sheil

  • According to clients, Karen Sheil is "exceptionally good on the client service end and extremely accommodating."  Chambers Europe 2017
  • The ‘highly rated’ Karen Sheil advised Hammerson and Allianz Real Estate on the €1.85bn acquisition of the Project Jewel loan portfolio from NAMA. Legal 500 2017
  • Sources say: "She gives you the pros, the cons, and a recommendation. Her level of knowledge is superb." Chambers Europe 2016  
  • Karen Sheil is a "very commercial lawyer" who offers "sensible overall advice and is quick to respond to any queries. She makes the process as hassle-free as possible. Very practical."  Others highlight her as a "good negotiator, who has common sense and understands her clients' businesses intricately."  Chambers Europe, 2015
  • Karen Sheil is ‘technically strong’.  Legal 500 EMEA, 2015
  • Karen Sheil ‘is very savvy, commercially focused and has an excellent capacity to negotiate - not aggressive but focused on getting the desired result’. Chambers Europe, 2014
  • Karen Sheil is described as “committed, dedicated and hard-working." Chambers Europe, 2013 

Brian O'Callaghan

  • 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 
  • Brian O'Callaghan attracts effusive praise from sources: "He works hard to get exactly what the client is looking for; he is one of the best solicitors I have come across." He has notable experience of real estate disputes.  Chambers Europe, 2015
  • According to clients, Brian O'Callaghan is “fantastic, with a great understanding of business.”  Chambers Europe, 2013 

Patricia Kenny

  • Patricia Kenny is 'vastly experienced’.  Legal 500 EMEA, 2015
  • Patricia Kenny is ‘precise’. Legal 500 EMEA, 2013 

Lisa McCarthy

  • Clients highlight her "technical knowledge, commercial awareness, effectiveness and client service." Chambers EMEA 2017

Key Contacts

Edward Spain Partner

Andrew Muckian Partner

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