Access to Luggala Estate Threatened
Minister of State Michael Ring has appealed to the Guinness family to donate its ancestral home of Luggala Lodge and lands in Co Wicklow to the State. In addition he said the Government could not afford the €28 million asking price for the seven-bedroom 18th-century lodge on 5,000 acres near Roundwood.
Mountaineering Ireland also welcomed Minister Michael Ring’s comments in the Dáil on 1st February 2017 about the importance of the Luggala Estate in Co. Wicklow. It is currently for sale with an asking price of €28m. Mountaineering Ireland supports the Minister’s view that this would be a significant and strategic addition to Wicklow Mountains National Park. The estate is at the heart of the Wicklow Mountains and the National Park surrounds it on three sides.
Speaking today, Helen Lawless, Mountaineering Ireland’s Hillwalking, Access & Conservation Officer, called on the Guinness family trust which owns the estate and also the Government to ensure that the access long enjoyed by walkers, climbers and tourists at Luggala is continued into the future. She also said that Mountaineering Ireland wishes to see Luggala’s unique estate landscape respected and looked after for its heritage value, and for the enjoyment of current and future generations.
Mountaineering Ireland understands that the estate extends to over 5,000 acres, taking in Luggala House and its grounds. It also includes the mountains of Luggala and Knocknacloghoge, Lough Tay and the valley running southwards from Lough Tay to Lough Dan.
Luggala Lodge was built in 1787 and gothicized thereafter for the La Touche family (Dublin bankers of Huguenot origin). In 1937, Ernest Guinness bought Luggala for his daughter Oonagh Guinness. He gave it as a wedding present to her on her marriage to Lord Oranmore and Browne. Oonagh ‘imbued Luggala with enchantment’ and made it ‘the most decorative honeypot in Ireland.
The breathtaking demesne has been used as a location for many films down through the years. These include: Zardoz (1974), starring Sean Connery and Charlotte Rampling; Excalibur (1981), featuring Nigel Terry and Helen Mirren; The Nephew (1998), directed by Pierce Brosnon; King Arthur (2004), with Clive Owen and Keira Knightley; and finally Astérix et Obélix (2012), with Gérard Depardieu.
As a result of the exceptional scenic quality of this landscape it is one of the most popular locations in Wicklow. It is suitable for walkers of all levels of ability and a must-see location for tourists visiting the Wicklow Mountains. The imposing granite cliffs on Luggala also provide some of the best rockclimbing in Wicklow. The public has enjoyed unhindered access to the mountains, cliffs and valley for many decades. Visitors continue to respect the privacy of the main house and its immediate grounds. In conclusion it is vital that this much cherished landscape remains accessible to the public for responsible recreational enjoyment.