Fairytale island castle WB Yeats failed to buy could be yours for £80k


AN incredible fairytale island castle that eluded the grasp of Irish poet WB Yeats – could be yours for just £80,000.

McDermott’s Castle, the site of which has been occupied for over 800 years, enjoys a stunning location in the middle of an Irish lough and is steeped in legend and folklore.

Yeats famously tried and failed to buy the castle and half an acre of land in 1899, with a desire to transform it into a lasting monument for Irish culture and heritage.

On December 7, the designated Irish National Monument goes on auction with a guide price of 90,000 euros.

The present castle, on Castle Island, Lough Key, County Roscommon, is a folly built about 200 years ago and now in a dangerous state of disrepair.

Property auctioneers, Bidx1, state that: “The property is arranged to provide a castle ruin and island. The island is set within Lough Key Forest and Activity Park. Total site area extending to approximately 0.22 hectares (0.54 acres).”

The island has had a number of different structures built on it, dating back to the 12th century.

A photograph of the exterior from the island itself

The Annals of Loch Ce mention a lightning bolt that struck and caused a fire in 1184.

The McDermott clan owned the island up until the 17th century, when it was given to the King family of England under the Cromwellian settlement.

The folly house was then built in the early 19th century.

The King family kept the property with the purpose of hosting parties and events, but it has since fallen into ruin, and is now in a dangerous state.

Tourists can view the property from the safety of the lake by using the local boat tour operators, which run during the summer.

The new owner will have the island and ruin to themselves as tourists are not permitted to set foot there.

Bob Geldof visited the island in 2016 for a BBC documentary on Yeats.

He revealed that Yeats fell in love with the castle and island, particularly the folklore and legends that exist to this day.

Yeats attempted to buy out the castle from the King family, with the desire to turn it into a monument for Irish culture and heritage.

His attempts failed and the folly castle remained, turning into the ruin that remains.

The property is steeped with folklore and local legends.

An archway inside the castle

The Legend of Una Bhan is most associated with the island castle.

The legend says that Una Bhan, a daughter of a McDermott chief, lived on Castle Island.

She fell in love with a young boy who her father would not permit to see.

He would swim over to the island to see her, but one day drowned in the lake.

Una Bhan subsequently died of grief and both lovers are said to be buried under an old twisted oak tree on the island.

Facebook users were impressed with the castle, with many wishing they they could have it to enjoy.

Johnny Merren said: “Wonder if they have WiFi there?”

Theresa Cox added: “Oh give me that lottery win…what fun.”

Sue Smithers wrote: “Yes. Maybe the new owner will accept visitors. I think that whomever owns the castle should make some money by having dinner parties and whatever else they could add to it for more fun.”

Caroline Strake said: “I’d love to live there…far from the madding crowd. Beautiful.”

Katie Caseboth Werthmann proposed: “Let’s all buy it together.”