James Dyson’s Irish bolthole, Sinéad O’Connor’s painting addiction and Barry Keoghan’s inner wolf
British billionaire James Dyson may soon be running his vacuum over one of Ireland’s grandest old piles. The inventor has been linked with the purchase of Ballynatray House, an 850-acre estate on the Cork-Waterford border, currently owned by property investor Henry Gwyn-Jones. The Irish Examiner’s Tommy Barker linked Dyson to the estate last week, suggesting an off-market deal may already be in place for €30 million-€35 million. Requests for comment were met by silence on both sides of the transaction.
The industrialist, who already owns rambling country homes in Var, France and in South Gloucestershire in England, is reportedly one of the UK’s biggest landowners, having bought up vast tracts in Lincolnshire, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire over the last two decades, presumably having discovered that farmland was one of the few things he couldn’t invent.
But could a permanent move to Ireland be in store for the arch-Brexiteer? When he previously moved his global head office to Singapore and bought an apartment there after the leave vote, Dyson was accused of hypocrisy. He subsequently moved his residency and head office back to the UK. Dyson may have some of the same muck fired in his direction if he ever decides to make Ireland his permanent home. But as he surveys his three miles of frontage on to the majestic Blackwater river, he will no doubt manage to suck up any criticism.
Sinéad O’Connor’s painting addiction
Was Sinéad O’Connor planning to introduce the world to another of her talents before she died so suddenly last year? Someone with the same name turned up on Revenue’s list of those who applied successfully for the artists’ tax exemption scheme last year but for painting, not music. The late singer first spoke of her interest in visual art in Rememberings, her 2021 memoir, saying painting had become her way of praying.
“I paint Scriptures. Been doing it a long time. I usually give them to people but lately I don’t because I’ve noticed I end up falling out with almost anyone I give one to,” she said. The songwriter said she had recently switched from painting to drawing with gold-leaf markers because every painting was taking a month and she would end up in hospital from not eating. “Painting was like an addiction,” she said.
Her fans may never see these works now unless something transpires that she wrote about in her memoir.
“When I shuffle off this mortal coil, I want every person to whom I gave a painting to gather in one place and have an exhibition. These people have never met. They are from all walks of life. I’d like them to meet if they haven’t trashed the paintings. And even if they have,” she wrote.
Barry Keoghan in fashion
After conquering Hollywood with a series of unnervingly intense performances, Barry Keoghan is planning to flex his fashion skills. The dapper star, who comes from Dublin’s north inner city, has set up Rarewolf Ltd, with its headquarters in London, which will sell “clothing in specialised stores”, according to company documents.
Keoghan, who lists his home address as Scotland in the filings, also set up his own production company, Wolfclub Productions, shortly before Christmas. Keoghan seems to have a thing for wolves, telling GQ in a recent interview that he feels a connection with the animals and likes to howl at the moon. Well, we knew he wasn’t a cat person.
ChatGPT’s language barrier
ChatGPT is conquering the world. But it may have met its match: Scots Gaelic. A research study by Brown University has found that safeguards built into the artificial intelligence (AI) software to prevent it from providing users with “unsafe content” can be circumvented by asking questions in more obscure languages such as Zulu, Guarani and Scots Gaelic, a close relation of the Irish language.
The academics found the technique was effective for someone seeking information about everything from making a bomb and distributing counterfeit money to promoting conspiracy theories. The researchers shared their findings with OpenAI, which is now working on a fix.
Mystery High Court action
Paul Tweed, a libel lawyer, is a strident critic of AI. The Belfast-based solicitor has taken numerous legal actions for clients against big tech in recent years, most recently a case for Miriam O’Callaghan over fake ads circulating on Facebook. He also claims that his clients are being defamed by AI chatbots, which he argues are disseminating misleading and defamatory information that could end up being dissected in court, very possibly in Ireland, where many of the leading tech companies have headquarters. Last week he filed a High Court action in Ireland on his own behalf against Amazon.com Inc and Amazon UK Services Ltd but declined to say why when asked last week. Just don’t ask ChatGPT.
Ridge living on the edge
Being a top-class sports agent must be a stressful business. Conor Ridge, Shane Lowry’s agent, has decided he could do with some peace and quiet. Ridge, who parted company acrimoniously with Rory McIlroy in 2015 but not before securing a €22 million settlement, recently applied for planning permission to refurbish and extend an old cottage on Turbot Island, off the coast of Connemara, which recently got hooked up for wifi by National Broadband Ireland. It’s still bound to be quiet – its population was two at the last census – so it sounds like the perfect place for Ridge, who started out working with Fintan Drury, to shout “show me the money” at the top of his lungs without disturbing any neighbours.