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Image / Living / Property

An anonymous buyer just bought 116 acres in Donegal to rewild it


By Sarah Finnan
28th Jan 2022
An anonymous buyer just bought 116 acres in Donegal to rewild it

The buyer has no plans to develop or farm the land according to the auctioneer who sold the property.

Imagine buying something for the sole purpose of doing absolutely nothing with it. Doesn’t sound like a valid reason to splash some cash, does it? Well, one anonymous buyer recently did just that… and there’s actually much more sense behind the move than you might think. 

According to The Farmer’s Journal, a mystery buyer paid at least €850,000 for a property up in Donegal this week – not to develop or farm or build a house on, but rather to leave exactly as is. Forking out to ensure that the property remains unfarmed and undeveloped, local auctioneer, Dara Furey, confirmed that the 116 acres “will now be effectively rewilded” as the purchaser bought it to “protect it”. 

Predominantly made up of hill ground, the land is located at Grange, Inch Island, between Buncrana and Derry. Overlooking Inch Pier and Lough Swilly Below, it’s privy to “some of the best unspoilt sea views in Ireland” too. 

Furey later explained that the property is non-residential, has no farm buildings, restricted access and no site potential. The buyer, who wishes to remain anonymous, is described as a “wealthy individual from the Republic” and has no plans to farm the land. Furey wouldn’t disclose the exact amount he sold the site for, though he did confirm that the asking price of €850k was met. 

Though still a relatively new concept in these parts, rewilding has become particularly popular across Europe in recent years where species such as bison, beavers and wolves are now returning to areas they were once driven out of. 

So, what is rewilding? According to Rewilding Europe, it’s a “progressive approach to conservation”. “It’s about letting nature take care of itself, enabling natural processes to shape land and sea, repair damaged ecosystems and restore degraded landscapes,” a post on the website continues. The process has significant potential to increase biodiversity, create self-sustainable environments and even mitigate climate change. 

While several different types of rewilding exist, it’s likely that passive rewilding will be implemented in this case where the aim is to reduce human intervention in ecosystems. Cultivated land is given back to nature which is then just left to flourish on its own.

This isn’t the first time that a rewilding project has made headlines in Donegal either. In November of last year, the Donegal Daily reported on a local campaign launched to help “save a sod” with the aim being to encourage members of the public to support a unique fundraising venture and protect the Kinnego sanctuary. A way to take direct action in response to the climate emergency, the whole thing was organised by the charity Green Sod Ireland which was set up back in 2006 in response to a rapid loss of land and biodiversity during the Celtic Tiger days. 

As for who the mystery buyer could be? Well, our Beauty Editor, Holly O’Neill, has her own list of suspects – top of which is Rihanna. It’s been almost six years since she dropped her last album, but she confirmed that we would her new music “soon” back in March 2021… which can only mean that she’s thinking ahead and getting filming locations ready ahead of time. She was very fond of a certain other field in Northern Ireland, to be fair. 

Photography via Ireland’s Content Pool