Hidden inside a secluded Irish valley a 40-minute drive from Dublin lies Luggala Lodge, an extraordinary estate built in 1787 for the La Touche family.
In 1937, Ernest Guinness bought the sublime 5,000-acre retreat as a wedding present for his daughter, Oonagh Guinness, on her marriage to Lord Oranmore and Browne. Luggala famously became the gathering place for Dublin’s intelligentsia, as well as artists and musicians from around the world. English singer, songwriter, and actress Marianne Faithfull called Luggala “the most beautiful place in the world. It has everything you need.” Nestled into a cleft at the northern end of the valley, the main lodge’s principal rooms look south across a verdant sward towards Lough Tay. The white-washed exterior of the building serves as a counterpoint to the dense woodland that rises immediately behind, making architectural details like the roofline crenellations all the more striking.
“Luggala has turned out to be our inspiration.”Bono
Within its modest footprint of 9,117 square feet, Luggala Lodge manages to contain three substantial reception rooms and a wealth of smaller chambers on both the ground and first floors, including seven bedrooms. There are four more bedrooms within the 2,906-square-foot guesthouse, and an additional 17 within seven lodges and cottages throughout the estate. In all, the total accommodation extends to some 19,099 square feet. Outside, one of the few surviving 18th-century landscape gardens and two woods of native Irish oak beautify the surroundings. A place of primeval colors, storied Luggala proudly stands against the grays, greens, and browns of the landscape and the lake, and complements the whiteness of the beach, the yellow of the primrose and the gorse, and the purple of the heather. To quote the Honorable Dr. Garech Domnagh Browne, grandson of the Honorable Arthur Ernest Guinness, “One of the extraordinary things about Luggala is that it almost looks like a different place every single day.”