Exploring the past of homes with hidden histories

Thu, Jan 5, 2012, 00:00

HOW did a house in Westmeath built on the lands of ancient kings of Ireland inspire popstar Michael Jackson when he lived there in 2006? Who planned to rescue Marie Antoinette and hide her in a house in Dingle? And who killed five clients and buried them in the basement of her brothel, now a youth hostel in Temple Bar?

Broadcaster and Irish Timestravel columnist Manchán Magan will reveal all in his second TG4 series of Cé a Chónaigh i mo Theachsa?/ Who Lived in My House?, which tells the stories of houses and who lived in them.

In the series, dubbed “Cribs for clever people” by the Daily Mail, Magan sets out to unlock the hidden history of houses around the country, speaking to families, neighours, local historians and so on to discover colourful characters who lived there in the past.

“For me, the thrill was knowing that each time I knocked on the door of a house, I was setting in train a mystery,” says Magan. The houses include actor Eámon Morrissey’s Aughavannagh cottage, built amongst fairy forts; the ostentatious Wexford country house where one of Ireland’s greatest designers, Eileen Gray, was reared; and the house in the Burren built with the help of US president George Washington. The series format has now been bought by NBC Universal., Made by Tile Films and directed by Manchán Magan’s brother Ruán, the 12-part series begins next Thursday, January 12th, on TG4 at 10pm