Luggala Redux


Just over sixty years ago in late January 1956, the occupants of Luggala, County Wicklow woke to find the building on fire, apparently started by faulty electrical wiring. Although three local fire brigades were summoned, deep snow hindered the arrival of their engines which in the course of a descent to the house slithered into a ditch and had to be dug out with shovels. Branches were then laid down to form a carpet over which the wheels could travel but once finally at the house, the firemen discovered no water coming from their hoses: they had forgotten to attach the nozzle to the engine. Even once they got underway, the intense cold hampered proceedings, with ladders becoming treacherous to use as ice formed on the steps. By the time the flames were doused at 10am, the greater part of the building had been gutted.  Fortunately Luggala’s then owner, Oonagh, Lady Oranmore and Browne immediately embarked on a restoration programme and by March of the following year she was back in the house which today remains in the care of her son, the Hon Garech Browne.
I shall be discussing this and other incidents in the wonderful history of Luggala next Wednesday, March 9th during a talk hosted by the Irish Georgian Society at the Somerset Club, 42 Beacon Street, Boston, Massachusetts. For more information, please see:


4 comments on “Luggala Redux

  1. Bob Frewen says:

    Good luck with the talk. While in Boston do take a look at “The Boy with the Squirrel” in the Museum of Fine Arts – painted by John Singleton Copley, whose mother was a Singleton of Quinnville Abbey in Co. Clare. Prior to moving to London Copley’s success as a painter enabled him to purchase a 21-acre farm on what is now Beacon Hill. The boy in the painting is his half-brother, Henry Pelham, who came to Ireland in the 1780’s, produced a Grand Jury map of Co. Limerick, became the Agent for Lord Lansdowne, laid out the town of Kenmare and died while supervising the building of Martello towers in Bantry Bay.

    • Gosh, what a totally fascinating piece of information. My visit to Boston is a bit of a dash, but you inspire me to run into the MFA – always worth a visit – to see the picture, which I know (but had not known of all those Irish links). Thank you so much for this advice.

  2. Bob Frewen says:

    Yes, it is a fascinating story and has a great twist – I wrote a detailed article on Pelham for our local history mag, the ‘Kenmare Chronicle’ last year; a copy of the article is in the IAA. If you’d like a copy send me an email.

Leave a Reply to theirishaesthetCancel reply