Guinness Heir’s Country Home, Michael Jackson Hideaway, For Sale

SLIDESHOW: Part of the property’s charm is its secluded location, nestled in a cleft at the bottom of a glacial valley and surrounded by 5,000 acres of woodland.

The Guinness family’s Irish country estate, once used as a secret hideaway home by Michael Jackson, is now listed for about US$30 million.

Imagine an ornate snow-white manor in Ireland, surrounded by 5,000 acres, where legendary hospitality has taken place for half a century. From Rolling Stones’ front man Mick Jagger to U2’s Bono and The Beatles, a former hunting lodge called Luggala was the ultimate country hideout where rock stars came to party and secretly stayed.

The property hit international headlines when it emerged that the late Michael Jackson lived here for three months in 2006 — but only after the King of Pop had left the country.

Part of Luggala’s charm is its secluded location, nestled in a cleft at the bottom of a glacial valley, 40km from Dublin. The former hunting lodge is further cloaked by dense woodland with lakes and silvery waterfalls, filled with deer and game. Of course, current custodian and owner, Garech Browne, adds to the property’s allure.

The great-great-great grandson of iconic Irish stout maker Arthur Guinness, Browne founded Claddagh Records. Since 1960s, the musician himself has not only hosted famous artists but also poets and politicians. The 77-year-old, who began quietly letting out the property over a decade ago due to being frequently abroad, has now decided to put the estate up for sale. It is listed at a price of €28 million (US$30 million) through Ireland Sotheby’s International Realty.

Originally built in the 18th century, Luggala was acquired by Ernest Guinness in 1937 as a wedding present for his youngest daughter Oonagh, Browne’s mother. The Gothic Revival, almost castle-like manor has three reception rooms, a drawing room, full office facilities and a formal dining room. There’s also the four-poster bed famously favoured by Michael Jackson throughout his stay.

The listing specifies seven bedrooms found within the main house, four within a guest lodge and a further 16 comprised within seven other lodges and cottages throughout the vast estate. Altogether, the accommodation within the estate extends to some 1,802-square-metres of space.

According to The Telegraph, Browne spent €6 million on restoring and renovating the grand home. It now includes a new library, stacked with 8,000 books, and an indoor swimming pool. The Guinness heir has called for the state to buy the house to save it for heritage.

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