If you are as fascinated as I am by grand houses, their histories and their inhabitants, then you will just adore Robert O’byrne’s (see The Irish Aesthete) latest tome, Luggala Days. It’s the story of an exquisite 18th century house located in a secluded Irish valley, that became home and haven to the Guinness family in 1937 and, throughout the 60’s and 70’s, to a colorful collection of superstar-guests, including the likes of John Paul Getty II and his wife Talitha, as well as a whole who’s who list of creatives like Lucien Freud, Bill Willis, Mick Jagger, and even Michael Jackson.
Ernest Guinness presented Luggala to his daughter Oonagh Guinness upon her marriage to the fourth Baron Oranmore and Browne. Her son the Hon. Garech Browne took up the Lagalla torch some three decades later in the late 60’s. In addition to lovingly restoring Luggala to its original 18th century splendor, Browne is known by many as Ireland’s last dandy!
Often combining traditional tailoring with unexpected materials and colors to create truly unique and sometimes quite arresting effects—Brown’s approach, in fact, is not that dissimilar to mine! In speaking of Browne, O’Byrne quotes Baudelaire at one point: “Dandyism is the last splendor of heroism….” The thought certainly resonates with me—it does take a certain fearlessness to be oneself and to express one’s own unique sartorial vision.
This is certainly a must-have addition to one’s library—a luscious account of a remarkable home and the people who made it legendary.