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Celtic Titles: The everlasting gift of Irish land

Celtic Titles is the newly launched sister brand of Highland Titles, who have been selling gift-sized plots of land for over 15 years

Work carried out at the Celtic Titles Nature Reserve so far includes obtaining a species list from a local ecologist, improving drainage, installing habitat boxes and the siting of several bug hotels.

Work carried out at the Celtic Titles Nature Reserve so far includes obtaining a species list from a local ecologist, improving drainage, installing habitat boxes and the siting of several bug hotels.

 

When Highland Titles launched in 2006, it’s mission was to conserve Scotland, one square foot at a time.  With 3 nature reserves and more than 500 acres of land under its management, the company is understandably proud of its achievements which include:

  • Planting thousands of trees
  • Creating a 3-acre lochan
  • Planting wildflowers and hedgerows
  • Installing habitat boxes and beehives
  • Creating miles of access paths and cycle routes
  • Being awarded 4 stars by Scotland’s official tourist board, Visit Scotland
  • Being visited by National Geographic.

In 2019, more than 10,000 people visited the Highland Titles Nature Reserve near Duror. The pandemic may have stopped people from visiting in 2020, but nature flourished and, with time to reflect, company director Doug Wilson decided to crowdfund an Irish conservation project with the launch of Celtic Titles.

“Northern Ireland has similar legislation to Scotland, in that it legally defines ‘souvenir’ plots of land. This enables us to sell plots of land from as little as 1 square foot for just £40 or $60. It makes for a wonderful gift, and we know that our project appeals to the Irish diaspora,” said Wilson.

Sales have been promising so far. In addition to the obvious appeal the gift holds for people with Irish heritage, the gift is also popular with those looking for an eco-friendly option.

Slievekirk Wood

“There aren’t many gifts that contribute directly towards conservation. We bought an area of woodland called Slievekirk Wood near Ardmore, which is about 6 miles outside of Derry. It’s a lovely area and our cameras have already spotted a variety of bird life, some deer and some badgers. We expect to find red squirrels there too, and we have plans to thin some of the densely wooded areas, dig a pond and plant some wildflowers,” Wilson continued. 

Though the law is similar, there are also significant differences between Northern Ireland and Scotland.

“Size would be the main one, which obviously affects the cost of land. The Highlands is nearly twice the size of Northern Ireland, and far more remote, so in terms of scale our Irish project is likely to be smaller than our Scottish project, which is already well established.”

Despite the smaller scale, Wilson is convinced the Celtic Titles project in Ireland can have a large impact.

“The Irish diaspora is bigger than the Scottish diaspora. According to our research, more than a quarter of residents in America claim to have Irish heritage.  Ultimately, the success of our project will be determined by the popularity of our gift,” said Wilson.

Interestingly, the Celtic Titles website advertises that its customers can become the Lord or Lady of Ardmore.

“That’s the fun aspect of the gift,” Wilson explains. “In Scotland, the word Laird is used to describe a landowner. Lord is the English translation and Lady is the female equivalent title, so we like to address our community of landowners as Lords and Ladies because technically they do own a small estate.”

Ultimately, the success of our project will be determined by the popularity of our gift

Work carried out at the Celtic Titles Nature Reserve so far includes obtaining a species list from a local ecologist, improving drainage, installing habitat boxes and the siting of several bug hotels. A picnic bench has also been added at a scenic point, overlooking the Lough Foyle and onwards to the Donegal Hills.

Wilson is happy with the progress made so far, but stresses that more is to come. “Conservation is a very long-term project, but we have the benefit of having 15 years of experience in Scotland and we have a decent blueprint for success here. Our ecologist is working on a suitable conservation plan and it will be satisfying to see it through.”

As an added bonus, Celtic Titles is a very friendly affair. “All the work on the nature reserve to date has been carried out by my friend Niall Hassan. We met at university over 20 years ago and have been great friends ever since then. It is funny how life works out sometimes!”

To buy a plot of land, become a Lord or Lady of Ardmore, and help create nature reserves in Ireland, visit www.CelticTitles.com