Friday, June 25, 2010

garech browne

'It takes the Honourable Garech Browne about 20 minutes to drive to the nearest village, but most of that time is spent exiting his own property. Luggala, Browne's 5,000-acre demesne in southern Ireland, isn't so much an estate as a kingdom, a veritable Middle Earth of heather-covered mountains, silvery waterfalls and lakes, emerald forest and meadows.' (Quoted from article In W Magazine, February 2003,

'The Hon. Garech Domnagh Browne', born 25 June, 1939, is a member of the titled family of Oranmore and Browne in the West of Ireland and is a wealthy patron of Irish arts, notably traditional Irish music. He is often known by the gaelic designation of his name, Garech de BrĂșn, especially in Ireland. He is the eldest of the three sons of Dominick Browne, the 4th Lord Oranmore and Browne and Oonagh Guinness, daughter of Hon. Arthur Ernest Guinness, wealthy heiress to the Guinness fortune and youngest of the three "Golden Guinness Girls". His father had the rare distinction of sitting silently in the House of Lords for 72 years until his death at age 100 in August, 2002, without ever having spoken in debate.

As both his parents were married three times, he has had two step-mothers and two step-fathers and also has a number of elder half siblings. His only full brother, The Hon. Tara Browne was a young London socialite whose untimely death at age 22 in a car crash in London's West End was immortalised in song by John Lennon. (He blew his mind out in a car...)

Garech was educated at Institut Le Rosey, Switzerland and though he is a member of the extended Guinness family, he takes no active part in its brewing business. Since the 1960s, he has been a leading proponent for the revival and preservation of traditional Irish music, through his record label Claddagh Records which he founded.

His former house, Woodtown Manor, near Dublin was for many years a welcoming place for Irish poets, writers and musicians and which was associated with the folk-pop group Clannad, where they made many recordings of their music. When in Ireland, he lives at Luggala set deep in the Wicklow mountains. The house has been variously described as a castle or hunting lodge of large proportions which he inherited from his mother. It has a fairytale setting and is famous for its hospitality and house parties since the time of his mother's residency.

Garech was instrumental in the formation of the world-renowned traditional Irish folk group, The Chieftains. When he asked his friend, the famed uileann piper, Paddy Moloney, in the early sixties to form a group for a one-off album for the Claddagh label, Paddy came up with the first line-up of The Chieftains, the membership of which has hardly changed since its foundation.

He is instantly recognisable by his famous pony-tail, wispy beard, tweed suit and dapper appearance.

He was married in 1981 to the Princess Harshad Purna Devi of Morvi, daughter of His Highness Sri Mahendra Sinhji, Maharaja of Morvi in India where he spends part of each year.

Happy Birthday


On a sadder matter, Paige is finally safe and sound at home. Our home is much quieter. The dogs have spent much of the day looking for her.


Main Line Sportsman said...

His estate looks like Middle fitting as this man looks like a Hobbit...

Anonymous said...

We often see him arround Dublin wonderfuly dressed in his Donegal Tweeds made by Norton and Son,very much part of the AngoIrish asendency,yet so totaly approachable,gifted with the Mitford sisters capacity for the Gab.Sometimes one thinks it a persona from the books of Molly Keane

Martha said...

Ah, The Chieftans . . . . a favorite group!

He is truly an individualist --

And he does look like a hobbit!

James said...

Grandchild withdrawal, I feel your pain.

JMW said...

Great post! This makes me long for another visit to Ireland - one of my favorite places on Earth.

Boywilli said...

I agree. This man is a hero and what a wonderful life to have

The Village Idiot said...


I've seen a random picture or two of this gentleman and had no idea that he was an instigator for The Chieftans though I did admire his sartorial prowess and also can see him instantly as a bon vivant.

Thanks for the great post and way to mark June 25th as a festival day in the future.


Anonymous said...


Julian Albericci said...

I had the pleasure of meeting Garech tonight in the bar of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel where he was relaxing and preparing for the wedding of his nephew in a few days time. It was without doubt the highlight of my visit to Mumbai. Sometimes life throws up moments of supreme opportunity. This was for me one of those moments. I hope he got home to his wife safely. Julian.

who+dares+wings said...

I let myself in through a window of Garech Brown's abandoned house in Rathfarnum, Woodtown Manor, looking for relics of the painter Morris Graves who restored it and sold it to Brown in l965. What I found were Brown's old liquor bills, an address book with Brendan Behan's phone number and some brass cabinet knobs bought by Graves in Paris. I removed seven of these knobs and let myself back out of the house. I am the Grand Polemarch of the Mystic Sons of Morris Graves Seattle Lodge 93. We are notorious looters following the tradition of treasure hunting taught us by the namesake of our order.

nguyen ducmanh said...

A great man, Garech let me stay in Luggala for 21 months where I did my Paintings Irish period 1974-76!