A 26-year-old Dublin man has admitted trespassing at Russborough House and stealing two paintings worth €2.5m.

John Kearns, with an address at Corrib Rd in Terenure, pleaded guilty at Wicklow Circuit Court today to stealing the two paintings on 26 June 2001.

Two years ago a jeep was driven up the steps and rammed through the front door of the stately home.

The thieves ran in and stole paintings which the National Gallery described as priceless.

Bernardo Bellotto's View of Florence, the Arno looking towards the Ponte Vecchio, and Madame Baccelli by Thomas Gainsborough, were the two paintings taken on this occasion.

Both have since been recovered.

Judge Raymond Grourke remanded Kearns on continuing bail for sentencing this day week.

He is the first person to be charged and convicted in connection with the theft.

Two other people are before the courts on charges of handling the stolen paintings and there are files with the DPP in relation to a number of other people.