We Tried It: Becoming a Royal-Titled Irish Land Owner
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day and my Celtic roots, I accepted the royal title of “Lady,” and partial land ownership of an Irish estate to help preserve the natural beauty of The Emerald Isle. Here’s how you can too.
I've always wanted to visit Ireland to experience the lush beauty, feisty pubs, and the ghostly footsteps of half my ancestors. Now, I have even more reason to go: I am a newly-minted royal Lady and landowner of part of an Irish estate. With my new title 'Lady Tara Elizabeth Cox of Ardmore,' I'm more eager than ever to step foot upon the very earth I own. Knowing I've helped preserve the famed rolling greenery of The Emerald Isle adds extra pride to this new purchase. The thing is, no one will be able to stand by my side on my turf–my plot of land is one square foot.
This is all part of a program launched by Celtic Titles, a company that's come up with the brilliant idea of selling the small souvenir plots of land (along with the honorary royal titles) on its Slievekirk Wood estate in Ardmore, Ireland, as a way to bring awareness to land conservation in the area. Between 2007 and 2014, the company purchased land totaling more than 400 acres that had previously been used for commercial forestry of its Sitka spruces. Since then, they've planted trees and created a wildlife habitat by fencing off a sizable area of land with a natural hedge of hawthorn, blackthorn, and other trees and shrubs. The estate is home to a number of species such as red squirrels, red deer, bees, and butterflies.
The 1 ft. x 1 ft plots can be purchased by anyone–$60 gets you the land and title of Laird, Lord, or Lady, while couples can opt for the 2 ft. x 1 ft. land parcel (two adjacent plots) with two names and titles for $90. Souvenir plots are legit: according to Northern Ireland's Land Registration Act of 1970 they are defined as, "a piece of land which, being of inconsiderable size or no practical utility, is unlikely to be wanted in isolation except for the sake of mere ownership or for sentimental reasons or commemorative purposes." Sentimentality and the human desire to have ties to our roots is a clever way to draw prospective title-holders in, while raising awareness about conservation efforts. And with an estimated 50 - 80 million people of Irish descent around the world, that awareness can go global.
The collected funds go to the costs of tree planting, maintenance, and acquisition of land that's at risk of development, preventing it from being purchased or built upon. Ensuring the land's longevity helps to provide a home to declining species in Ireland as well. Celtic Titles plans to continue expanding and to create even more nature reserves throughout Ireland in the future.
Now that I've risen in the ranks of royalty and land ownership, I received a gift pack with a personalized certificate to prove it, information about the estate, and an ID card for my plot–which is most certainly open for me to visit (though I guess I don't get rights to sleep in the manor or castle–shucks!). The right to my little square piece of Ireland is mine–I can even transfer the deed or bequeath it in my will so it can be passed down through the generations and stay with my family forevermore. There's definitely a feeling of pride in knowing I own a bit of the earth where my roots were laid and I am helping to make a happy home for wildlife. Oh, and then there's the bragging rights–I'll definitely be making everyone call me Lady Tara from now on.
For more information and to buy a plot of your own, go here.
As a special St Paddy's Day celebration, Celtic Titles is offering a free plot of land in Ardmore, Ireland to those born on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, while supplies last. In order to receive their free plot and title, qualifying participants can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with proof of their birthday and a valid U.S. shipping address beginning Wednesday, March 17 at 8:00am EST.