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This was up from €17.5m (£12.4m) for 2006, in part due to a large increase in private treaty sales, not least the €3.5m (£2.4m) sale of documents relating to the 1916 Easter Rising bought by the Irish state last summer.

As with last year, the figures include the lots consigned from Bonhams, who continue to sell Irish art in Dublin through Adams. However, this year’s figure was also boosted thanks to Adams securing the Kearney collection, which made €2.2m (£1.65m) at their December auction.

Also in Dublin, De Veres registered a marginal increase with their annual total rising to €7.5m (£5.6m) up from €7m (£5m) last year.

Although they sold the top lot in Ireland last year (Louis le Brocquy’s The Family for a premium-inclusive €793,260 [£596,435] in April), Whytes of Dublin saw a modest decrease in their hammer total.

Their 2007 figure was €8.4m (£6.3m), down from €9.8m (£6.9m) in 2006. However, this figure did not include private treaty sales which were noticeably up on the year before.