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See inside the stunning secluded Wicklow lodge once home to self-appointed Irish chieftain on the market for €600,000

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A view of the west side of the dwelling.

A view of the west side of the dwelling.

The 3219 sq ft 'Mucklagh Lodge' is surrounded by a grove of old trees.

The 3219 sq ft 'Mucklagh Lodge' is surrounded by a grove of old trees.

The house was rebuilt in the 1990's using stones from the original hunting lodge.

The house was rebuilt in the 1990's using stones from the original hunting lodge.

An aerial view of the lodge.

An aerial view of the lodge.

One of the six bathrooms in the lodge.

One of the six bathrooms in the lodge.

The entrance to Mucklagh, viewed from the grounds of the lodge.

The entrance to Mucklagh, viewed from the grounds of the lodge.

One of six bedrooms in the lodge.

One of six bedrooms in the lodge.

Another of Mucklagh's many bedrooms.

Another of Mucklagh's many bedrooms.

The master bedroom.

The master bedroom.

A spacious corridor.

A spacious corridor.

A massive fireplace and generous seating area.

A massive fireplace and generous seating area.

The secluded entrance to the lodge.

The secluded entrance to the lodge.

Mucklagh's spacious kitchen.

Mucklagh's spacious kitchen.

Local nature is framed throughout the house.

Local nature is framed throughout the house.

the lodge is surrounded by greenery.

the lodge is surrounded by greenery.

A large dining area.

A large dining area.

The beautiful, hand-crafted stairwell.

The beautiful, hand-crafted stairwell.

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A view of the west side of the dwelling.

wicklowpeople

A secluded lodge in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains that was once home to a bagpipe-loving, wolfhound breeding, self-appointed Irish chieftain has come on the market with a guide price of €600,000.

Nestled in the heart of Wicklow, the stunning Mucklagh Lodge in Aughavannagh consists of a 3219 sq ft home, sitting on a total of c.20 acres. The dwelling was rebuilt in the late 1990’s, using granite from the original hunting lodge that had stood there for over 80 years.

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The 3219 sq ft 'Mucklagh Lodge' is surrounded by a grove of old trees.

The 3219 sq ft 'Mucklagh Lodge' is surrounded by a grove of old trees.

The 3219 sq ft 'Mucklagh Lodge' is surrounded by a grove of old trees.

While its setting, size and spectacular views of the surrounding countryside are impressive, the history of the site may be its most attractive feature. 

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The current owner, Roundwood resident Norman Lyons, spotted the then derelict lodge by chance while he was out hill walking on the Wicklow Way in the 1990’s. An impressive observation by the eagle-eyed rambler, considering it’s completely surrounded by an old groves of trees.

Some years later, Norman tracked down its owner, purchased it and built the mountainous, six bedroom/six bathroom home you see today.

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An aerial view of the lodge.

An aerial view of the lodge.

An aerial view of the lodge.

“It’s located right beside the Wicklow Way, where I used to do a lot of hill walking,” Norman said. “I spoke with my brother about it, who worked in the property business. I was telling him about the place when he said: ‘why don’t you try to buy it, if it’s so amazing?’. I hadn’t considered trying to purchase it, but I started to warm to the idea.

“So my brother did a bit of digging on my behalf and managed to find out that planning permission had been granted on the site relatively recently. Through that we had the name of the owner, but not much else to go on.”

Over the following weeks Norman tracked down the mysterious owner to an address in Covent Garden, London. It transpired that the owner was a wealthy dealer (of oranges, amongst other things) who had a notion to retire to a remote part of Wicklow, having spent his whole life in the hustle and bustle of London.

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the lodge is surrounded by greenery.

the lodge is surrounded by greenery.

the lodge is surrounded by greenery.

“He agreed to sell it to me eventually,” Norman said. “I only ever met him once, at Dublin Airport, to sign the contracts. I gave him his few bob, over a quick pint, and that was the end of it. He was gone after 20 minutes, back to London. Quite the character indeed.

“My wife and I got fresh planning permission thereafter and built the house as it stands today, which is basically on the same footprint as the old hunting lodge. It’s not quite as big as the old building, but there was zero landscaping required during the rebuild.

“We tried to save as much of the original building as possible, but it had been vandalised over the years and was too far gone,” Norman continued. “So, we got all the granite stone from the old house and used it in the rebuild. Actually, no stone went in or out of the site.”

With the forested garden wrapping around the house and the patio to the front, Norman created a serene setting that, from the inside, feels totally removed from the outside world.

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Mucklagh's spacious kitchen.

Mucklagh's spacious kitchen.

Mucklagh's spacious kitchen.

It’s no wonder that Norman has hosted a multitude of retreats and workshops there down through the years, including shamanism schools, ‘Moon Mná Weekends’ and tantra seminars. The lodge comes with its own meditation room and panoramic group room.

As interesting a character as Norman is, he is not the main protagonist in this property’s story.  One of the former owners of the property, the self-titled ‘O'Mahony of Kerry’, is among the most fascinating and eccentric characters in contemporary Irish history.

Philanthropist, parliamentary figure, breeder of wolf hounds, confidant to Charles Stewart Parnell and prodigal spender: Pierce Charles Mahony was a rare personality indeed.

Born in Dublin in 1850 to a family who owned land in Kerry and Wicklow, Pierce was the great grandson of Daniel O'Connell’s solicitor. He went on to live an astounding life of his own.

In 1886 he ran for home rule MP in North Meath and won. He was an avid supporter of Parnell in the split, but reportedly regretted breaking with Gladstone. In 1893, he started practising as a barrister, while simultaneously holding a position as director of the Irish Daily Independent (between 1898 and 1900).

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The master bedroom.

The master bedroom.

The master bedroom.

He quit both posts in 1900, after he had inherited the Wicklow estate of his late uncle David Mahony. Despite self-circulated rumours that Pierce was a direct descendant of Pierce Edmond de Lacy, an Irish-soldier who served in the Imperial Russian army, his Wicklow uncle seems a far more plausible source of his vast wealth.

After anti-Turkish rebellions broke out in Macedonia and Thrace in 1903, the altruistic Pierce and his wife Alice founded the St Patrick's Orphanage in Sofia. The couple lived in the orphanage with 32 refugees for a time.

While living there, Pierce converted to the local Bulgarian brand of Orthodox Christianity. In later years he converted back to Roman Catholicism, after realising that there were a distinct lack of Orthodox priests in Ireland in 1929.

When the Irish Crown Jewels were stolen from Dublin Castle on July 6, 1907, the O'Mahony family diamonds, which were kept in the same safe, were stolen too. The gems were never retrieved and it remains one of Ireland's greatest unsolved mysteries – a bit like Pierce.

After his brother George's death in 1912, Pierce changed his name, by deed poll, to ‘The O’Mahony of Kerry’, a title that was never officially recognised. The O’Mahony retired to his Aughavannagh hunting lodge thereafter, where he bred Irish wolfhounds and constructed intricate gardens.

In his old age he could be spotted in a bonnet, kilt and jacket, as a he led a pack of wolf hounds across the surrounding hillside, accompanied by two bag pipers, who were also in full dress. He lived as a self-proclaimed chieftain until he died, at the lodge, on October 31, 1930.

The O’Mahony’s legacy remains, and is hewn into the rocks upon which the current lodge sits. In fact, the old basement of the lodge also remains, and has been preserved by Norman. He uses it to house his heating system, which was the basement’s original purpose.

So, if you’re passing by on the Wicklow Way, keep your eyes peeled. Mucklagh Lodge is a property worth a second look, if only to grasp a fraction of its wonderful history.

The agent managing the sale of Mucklagh is Richard McDonnell, of McDonnell Properties, who can be contacted at 0404 42828.


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