By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — In the biggest-ever sell-off of Irish feudal baronies and lordships of the manor, six cash-strapped peers have put 32 titles on the market through a London firm of specialist auctioneers.
Aspiring "aristocrats" can buy titles in Carlow, Clare, Cork, Down, Galway, Kilkenny, Louth, Roscommon and Sligo.
Also on offer from the earl of Shrewsbury and Waterford is the grandiosely styled title of deputy lord high stewardship of Ireland".
For years, selling these medieval names has been a lucrative sideline for financially pressed aristocrats who may have lost ancestral acres and mansions but have titles to spare.
The titles will only allow buyers to style themselves lord or baron and apply for a coat of arms.
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They are not a British or Irish peerage, do not confer any rights to sit in the now reformed House of Lords, and almost all the original privileges and rights that might have applied to them centuries ago are gone.
With some of these old British titles, limited privileges may still be involved, such as grazing, sporting or fishing rights, permission to collect tolls or hold a fair.
A British lordship of the manor bought by ex-Boomtown rocker and Live Aid star Bob Geldof allows him to hold a fair.
The manorial auctioneering company at Kennington Road in London could not be contacted about why there is such a glut of Irish titles coming on the market at the same time.
The price of titles also appears to be going down. Previously, the guide price had been £7,500 sterling, but the latest 28 lordships are priced a third lower at £5,000.
The earl of Shannon and Lord DeFreyne are the biggest sellers, with each offering nine titles. Both men have been sellers of their heritage in the past.
The earl of Shannon is selling the lordships of Erylston and Monyho in County Kilkenny, Kilmehide in County Carlow, and Abbeystowry, Lislee Temple, Court McSherry, Raheens, Kilnaglary and Tubbrids in County Cork.
Lord DeFreyne is selling the barony of Leitrim, Co. Galway, and the lordships of Chacefield in County Sligo, Ballyfintan and Monivea in County Galway, and High Lake, Cloonarrow, Derry, Caher and Brierfield in County Roscommon.
Lord Inchiquin — who is also chief of the O’Briens one of the country’s 21 clan chiefs — is selling the barony of Bunratty, Co. Clare, and the lordships of Ballynacraggy, Corofin, Leameinagh and Clare Abbey in County Clare.
Viscount Bangor is selling the barony of Castlereagh in County Down and the lordships of Newcastle, Slanes and the Copeland Island in County Down.
The country’s premier viscount, Lord Gormanston, is selling the lordships of Ardglas and Rosse in County Down and Castleomnagh and Mandesville in County Louth.
Lord Gormanston has already sold off more than 30 titles. He is believed to have inherited more than 100 from his father, who was killed in action in France in World War II.