Extremely Fancy Castle, Anyone?


That’s not a castle. THIS is a castle. Nicole Buckler wonders how does one own such a gaff.

Tulira Castle in Co Galway, is one of those rare castles…a gaff with owners so rich that they don’t have to flog the rooms out for hen parties. While I am wondering how the Dutch owners Ruud and Femmy Bolmeijer got so damn rich, I can’t help but appreciate the restoration job they have pulled off on this gaff.

They bought the property 18 years ago in punts, which in today’s money is €2.5m. But now they want to get rid and downsize. That caravan in France won’t buy itself, dammit. And they’ll even be able to afford an in-caravan bathroom, as this castle is selling for an askig price of €6,500,000. Want it? You’d better start lapdancing and fast.

While the castle isn’t that old compared to other overly majectic gaffs in Ireland, it still does have a somewhat interesting history.

The Castle has three main buildings, which could probably fit most of Bray in it. It has a medieval tower, courtyard buildings and the Victorian Castle.

The first structure that was thrown up into existence was the medieval tower house, and that itself was built on foundations from the 12th century. It was completed in 1882.

The fact that this happened in 1882 meant that the turrets and battlements were just for posing. Nobody was going to bother to besiege anything in the Victorian era… they were too busy talking about the first Irish international football match (which Ireland lost, miserably. And worse, to England.)

The dude who built such a posey-style house was Edward Martyn, a leading figure in the Irish Literary and Artistic revival. He was an interesting character. While he inherited all of his wads of cash and didn’t actually create new wealth himself, he was very generous in slapping it around into Irish causes.

Martyn sponsored all sorts of Irish arts like stained glass window crafts, Irish choirs and efforts to revive the Irish language.

A lot of the records of the castle were lost in a fire, however it is accepted that Tulira is the only castle in Ireland that has never been invaded, attacked or ransacked. It seems everyone liked this Martyn guy.

The castle is rather too far away from anywhere for junkies to want to rob the gaff. It is out in the sticks. Well, not so much the sticks as the lime trees. “One” enters Tulira Castle through impressive entrance gates lined with 95 lime trees. This is excellent news, for when I come and visit you, the new owners, I will want plenty of mojitos. I’ll deserve it after seeing you with all your money.

The great hall has a very high timber celling and marble columns made from Irish black marble and Connemara green marble.

The rooms in the castle have floors made from pine, imported from America. This is disappointing considering that many a lodgepole pine can be found up the road at Cloosh forest.

The best part of the Dining Room is that it has the original hell-ugly wallpaper from the 1880s. The upper windows in the bay contain six stained glass panels with the crests of the Galway tribes. I think this is a deliberate move to ensure that none of the said tribes would attack the castle and steal the Connemara marble. Well played, rich people. Well played.

The Morning Room is the brightest room in the castle. And you know you are truly rich when you have a room for the morning. My own rooms have to last the entire day.

The East wing is obviously for the peasants: it has a kitchen, a workroom, and laundry room. Yes, fellow peasants, this is where I belong. With my all-day things.

And of course, if you are rich, you must have at least 7 bedrooms. Anything less than that and you are lower-upper class: ew. Next someone might ask you to carry water on your head and wash your clothes down at the local stream. So seven bedrooms it is. Five of the bedrooms have an ensuite bathroom, the other two are for uncouth relatives that rich people can’t bear.

The tower is the part of the gaff which is the most romantic, and where you can pretend to be a brave knight or a helpless maiden, depending on your slightly nauseating fantasy.

While the castle itself was being built onto the tower, Edward Martyn decided to make the tower habitable. He thusly decided to make it into his work space. And strangely, he was a man insanely before his time: He worked standing up at his desk, something that health freaks are telling us to do right now. Yes I’ll stand up when I am rich and only work for one hour at a time.

Martyn also put a chapel into the tower, with an altar and a set of eight oak pews. For praying to God that you never ever lose your fortune and have to live in a tent on the green.

And of course, then you have the banqueting hall. For when you have finished praying for roasted pheasant and it arrives.

If you are rich enough to buy this gaff, then all the people who decide to sponge off you have places to stay: including a Gate Lodge, Stable House, butler’s apartment and further staff apartments. If you have a butler in this day and age, you got bigger problems that having his quarters maintained, let me tell you.


Okay, breaking news, put your wallet away. Tech millionaire Niall Turley bought Tulira Castle and so it has been withdrawn from the market. Better luck next time, baby.


Buy the 2019 Old Moore’s Almanac


About Author