The matriarch of Ballymaloe House, Myrtle Allen, left more than €1m in her will.
The hotelier, who died on June 13, 2018, is credited with turning a Co Cork tillage farm into an internationally renowned brand and, in the process, created a sprawling high-quality family food empire, fronted by celebrity chefs Rachel Allen and her mother-in-law Darina Allen.
Three generations of the family became involved in food production, restaurants, farming, a cookery school and media activities, mostly based around Ballymaloe House and the family's 350-acre farm near Midleton, Co Cork.
Yeats Room, the company that runs Ballymaloe House, is valued at €2.25m and has 52 employees. But it is now only one outpost of the food empire Myrtle Allen founded through dedication to good food and a keen eye for publicity.
According to her will, Gladys Myrtle Allen, described as a hotelier, of Ballymaloe, Shanagarry, Co Cork, left an estate valued at €1,037,372. The executors of her will are her son Tim, a chef, and daughter Wendy Whelan, who runs the retail arm of Ballymaloe House.
It all started back in the 1960s when Myrtle Hill married Ivan Allen, who ran a large farm in the lush countryside at Shanagarry.
A trained chef and a food columnist with the Farmers Journal since the early 1960s, she opened the Yeats Room restaurant in Ballymaloe House in 1969 and soon gained an international reputation as a foodie destination for diners who wanted fresh and seasonal locally sourced ingredients combined with gourmet cooking.
However, it was the success of her daughter-in-law, Darina Allen, as one of Ireland's first celebrity chefs and a string of Simply Delicious cookery books and television programmes that brought the enterprise to a national audience. In turn, Darina Allen's daughter-in-law, Rachel Allen, has continued the tradition as a food writer and television presenter here and abroad.
Myrtle Allen was also a great publicist for the Ballymaloe brand and quality Irish products in general. She was one of the prime movers behind the Taste of Ireland festival in Brussels and other venues in the 1980s.
"Women have always been central to the success of Ballymaloe," said one international journal in a review of the enterprise. Another appraisal added: "While there are many interesting aspects to the Ballymaloe story, perhaps one of the most notable has been the influence the women who married into the Allen family have had on the business. Myrtle, Darina and Rachel are largely responsible for the success of the Ballymaloe brand and the growing influence of the Allen family."
In her will, Myrtle Allen bequeathed €5,000 to each of her grandchildren. She left royalties from her books and her shares in Ballymaloe Crafts Ltd to her daughter Wendy Whelan. She left her shares in Ballymaloe Foods Ltd to her daughter Yasmin Hyde. She left her shares in Yeats Room Ltd and a non-trading company Rouska Ltd equally between her six children, Wendy Whelan, Natasha Harty, Timothy Allen, Rory Allen, Yasmin Hyde and Fern Allen.
The dynasty's only major setback happened in January 2003 when chef Tim Allen, joint executor of his mother's will, pleaded guilty at a local court to the possession of indecent images of children. There was a public outcry after Judge Michael Pattwell replaced his initial suspended nine-month jail sentence with a 240-hour community service order and a €40,000 donation by Mr Allen to a charity for street children in India.