Castle landlord wins case to evict tenant of 44 years


The landlord of Blarney Castle estate has succeeded in a court action to eject a man who has lived on his land for 44 years.

Mr Charles Colthurst, also know as Sir Charles St John Colthurst, Baronet, brought proceedings before Judge Con O'Leary at Cork District Court to eject Mr Ted O'Riordan, who lives with his wife, Catherine, at the Back Lodge, Kerry Pike Road, Blarney, Co Cork. The house is part of Blarney Castle estate.

Mr Colthurst's case is that Mr O'Riordan, a garden centre manager in Cork city, lives there on foot of a caretaker's agreement of December 7th, 2000. He claimed in court he demanded possession of the property in June 2003, but that by August the defendants had still not left.

The court was shown a document signed by Mr O'Riordan six months after the death of his mother in 2000, stating that only a caretaker of Blarney Estate could live at Back Lodge. Mr Colthurst argued that as Mr O'Riordan was not a caretaker he could not live there.

Mr Colthurst said he had been wrongly portrayed "as an evictor of the 19th century". Since the death of his father, Sir Richard, in 2003, he had carried out a "regularisation" of the estate. As part of this he had examined the O'Riordans' tenancy.

The Back Lodge was built in 1875 and Mr O'Riordan has lived there since his birth in 1960. The court heard that Mr Colthurst had offered Mr O'Riordan a deal where he could stay on the property as long as he paid rent. "To my knowledge he has refused that," said Mr Colthurst.

Mr O'Riordan said in court that he and his wife had been harassed a number of times since the case began. Relatives as far back as his great grandfather had lived on the property. The last member of his family to have worked on the estate died in 1938. He said he had spent €100,000 on refurbishment and always believed the house was his rightful home. "If I knew what the document meant, I would not have signed it," he said. Judge O'Leary made an order that a stay should be placed on the ejection order if an appeal was lodged within 21 days.