Nestled in the Wicklow mountains, at the bottom of a glacial valley, you can find one of the jewels of the garden of Ireland – Lough Tay. The hills, lake and adjoining estate combine for a breath-taking vision best viewed from high above. Indeed as a private estate it’s not actually possible to walk the grounds but the view from above is more than enough to enjoy.
Standing high on the east hill, you can see Lough Tay is fed by the Cloghoge River which winds it way through the Luggala estate.
Luggala house, hidden to the back of the manicured lawns, is an 18th century hunting lodge at the heart of a 5,000 acre estate. It’s owner is Garech de Brun, a descendant of Arthur Guinness, the very man who invented Ireland’s famous black stuff.
The beach on the northern side has bright white sand which was imported by the Guinness family. The lake is understandably known as the Guinness lake given the notable neighbour and also because the shape of the lake with the white sand at the top, it really does look a bit like a Pint of Guinness.
Luggala house is famous in its own right for its cultural legacy, hosting the great and the good for legendary parties down through the years. The role call of guests particularly is impressive: Charlotte Rampling, Angelica Huston, Rolling Stones Ron Wood, Mick Jagger and Brian Jones, Anita Pallenberg, Dennis Hopper, Brendan Behan and John Paul Getty Jr., American poets Robert Lowell and John Berryman as well as Patrick Kavanagh, Austin Clarke and Samuel Beckett. They must have had some craic!
Forest lines the lake’s south-east fringe and conceals the road access to the Luggala estate. Lough Tay drains into Lough Dan which is located a few kilometers to the south down the valley.
The philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote in his Autobiography: “Twice I went with my Aunt Agatha to Ireland. I used to go for walks with Michael Davitt, the Irish patriot, and also by myself. The beauty of the scenery made a profound impression on me. I remember especially a small lake in County Wicklow, called Lugala. I have associated it ever since, though for no good reason, with the lines: ‘Like as the waves make toward the pebbled shore, so do our minutes hasten to their end.’ Fifty years later, when visiting my friend Crompton Davies in Dublin, I induced him to take me to Lugala. But he took me to a wood high above the lake, not to the ‘pebbled shore’ that I had remembered, and I went away convinced that one should not attempt to renew old memories.
Here at Coast Monkey we’re hesitant to disagree with such a brilliant mind as Bertrand Russell but in this case we have to add if you’ve been to Lough Tay before, it’s always worth a revisit!