A recent survey of the cost of living worldwide by Mercer Human Resources Consulting has rated Irelands capital city as the joint 13th most expensive in the world (the first being Tokyo). In Europe, only Paris, London and Copenhagen are more expensive than Dublin, according to the survey covering 144 cities. The price of property has begun to reflect that trend, with real estate agents putting Dublin house prices on a par with those in New York. This month, a record 58 million was paid for a detached house in the exclusive Shrewsbury Road in Ballsbridge, Dublin. Admittedly the property in question, Walford House, is no suburban cottage: a large Edwardian mansion in red brick, it comes complete with servants quarters and 1.8 acres of gardens, which back onto the Old Belvedere Rugby Club grounds. Nevertheless, Dublin real estate agents are convinced that sales of this import are on the increase, reflecting the purchasing power of a new super-rich elite in Irish society.