Vale Jonathan Irwin


Everyone at Goffs was saddened to learn of the death of the former Managing Director, Jonathan Irwin.

Jonathan was appointed Managing Director of Robert J Goff & Co plc in 1975 at the age of just 33 and oversaw an amazing period for the company over the next 15 years, not least the construction of the iconic Kildare Paddocks which remains one of the finest bloodstock sales complexes in the world.

Jonathan was certainly one of the most colourful bloodstock characters of his generation and his legacy lives on in the modern day Goffs. As well as overseeing the design of the complex, he approached the whole business in an innovative and charismatic way. Shouting bid spotters, international guest auctioneers, black tie select sales and the first multi-currency bid board at any auction in the world, an innovation that was almost instantly copied by the likes of Sotheby’s and Christie’s, were amongst his ideas that have stood the test of time. European records were regularly set from the outset with the first sale setting the trend with the IR127,000 Guineas Be My Guest being followed nine years later by a Shergar colt realising IR3,100,000 Guineas (equivalent to €4.2M today), an Irish auction record that stood for 39 years.

The Cartier Million was another revolutionary brainchild under Jonathan’s tenure and is a concept that has been developed with such success to this day.

Commenting on the news Goffs Chairman, Eimear Mulhern said: “It is with great regret that we hear of the passing of Jonathan Irwin. Jonathan was a titan of the bloodstock industry, transforming and modernising a business which heretofore had been routed in tradition. He inspired a whole generation, of which I am one, as to a new way to market and promote the business in a truly innovative way. His contribution to Goffs was immense and we are still the beneficiaries of his vision to this day. On behalf of the shareholders and board of Goffs we send our deepest and most sincere sympathy to his wife Mary Anne, his children, his extended family and wide circle of friends.”

Henry Beeby is the latest successor to Jonathan and added: “Jonathan was a truly inspirational character who revolutionised the way European thoroughbred auctions were conducted. A true showman, he oozed charisma and I learned a huge amount from him over the years so much so that we still aspire to his lofty standards to this day”.

The Management and Staff at Goffs send their sincere condolences to Jonathan’s family and as a mark of respect will observe a minute’s silence at 11am tomorrow (Monday) in advance of the Goffs December NH Sale.

Jonathan Irwin, picture Goffs