Sir David McMurtry
Rank 2017

Often referred to as Ireland’s greatest living inventor, Dublin-born McMurtry, 76, is perhaps almost as famous for his futuristic Gloucestershire home Swinhay, used as the lair of villain Charles Augustus Magnussen in the third series of the BBC drama Sherlock. McMurtry, who left Ireland at 18 to join Rolls-Royce as an apprentice, traces his interest in engineering to making balsa-wood aeroplanes as a child. He began the precision engineering firm Renishaw with colleague John Deer in 1973. The group floated 10 years later and is now worth more than €2.53bn. He is listed as either inventor or co-inventor of 47 Rolls-Royce patents and 150 at Renishaw, which has branched out from specialist measuring equipment to hi-tech wizardry. Based in Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, but also employing 200 people in Swords, Co Dublin, the group’s 3D printing technology is to be used by teams competing in this year’s America’s Cup to create metal parts for their yachts. Renishaw’s shares have risen by more than a third in the past year. McMurtry’s stake is worth nearly €788m. Dividends and other assets take him to €868m.