Enya: This Old House Photo: ADWR


Ireland's Richest Woman

Galen English

ShowBiz Ireland News (Ireland) 23 November 2000

She hires out private jets to see her family in Donegal, on land her chauffeur is her guide and champagne the favourite tipple but why not if you're Ireland's wealthiest female pop star? With a reputed fortune of £36 million Donegal native Enya is the countries top female earner who has managed to shift over 44 million copies of her albums off the shelves.

What amazes onlookers is that the woman who just pips Riverdance's Moya Doherty as the countries top female earner has done it all by doing nothing more than nervously flirting with the media.

Like her ethereal music the Donegal woman's spending habits and closely guarded private life have always been hidden behind a veil of tight lipped agents and press shy friends. But with a new album out this week called A Day Without Rain the woman who first broke into the charts twelve years ago with her haunting tune Orinoco Flow, is making carefully chosen advances towards the media.

But you can be sure the Gweedore native, who has made a career of being the Enya the enigma and zealous recluse, will let nothing of her lavish lifestyle slip.

The Evening Herald can reveal she prefers to bathe in the anonymity of foreign shores going on frequent family shopping trips to Paris or heading to Australia to see her beloved sister, Olive. If she wants to head to the family pub Leo's Tavern in Meenaleck where their are plans for a shrine to Clannad and her own musical career then she rents out a private jet.

She doesn't drive but uses a chauffeur to keep her off the streets and away from the maddening crowd but sources close to the singer say it is unlikely you would be able to recognise her from the carefully chosen media prints.

A life of constant fear of being fed to the media sharks combined with a wavering battle with her own painfully shy nature has left Eithne Ni Bhraonain constantly wary of those that enter the inner circle. You will never spot her booking a table in any of the cities must be seen nightspots or becoming the social super nova of our elite celebrity community in Killiney/Dalkey.

In fact the only activity you are likely to see at her £2.5 million Ayesha Castle, named after the goddess who carried the eternal flame and was forever youthful, is the eternal clanging of workmen. Since she bought the six bedroom in 1997 Enya has done nothing but constantly tinker with her home to be until it is in every way her perfect hideaway. New floor boards, fire places and gates except the star can't make up her mind how the inner sanctum should look but what is certain is that security must be tight.

In the past she has suffered from the unwanted attentions of a love-crazed Italian fan who even recorded an album dedicated to her hence her fear of prying eyes. The local council has received applications to add three foot thick blokes along with four foot high spikes on to the perimeter wall at a cost of £250,000.

Living nearby in her own apartment or sharing with her manager Nicky Byrne and his wife Roma who have a recording studio on location the star is aiming to move into her own house sometime next year.

Outside of spending a fortune fortifying her house Enya has a passion for buying only the best designer garments from some of the biggest names on the domestic scene. Tipperary's Louise Kennedy, Drogheda designer Ciaran Sweeney, John Rocha and Derryman Jen Kelly, who designed the costumes for Riverdance, all count her as a valued customer.

On the charity front Enya hit the headlines when she and Roma stumped up ?20,000 to save a small child with a heart condition but the attention was unwelcome.

Currently on a promo tour of America, Japan and Australia our wealthiest woman will be stopping off down under for Christmas for a cousins wedding. But if you head to brother Bartley's pub some weekend when the family get together for a seisuin check out the crowd as you might just catch the elusive star watching from the shadows.

Note: Inaccurate and spiteful, you have to wonder why this was written in the first place.