Roger Whittaker’s former Galway home seeking €2.65m

Grand country house has a guest cottage, a studio apartment and a recording studio

Lairakeen House, Banagher, Co Galway. The estate is an hour from Galway city, and one and a half to two hours from Shannon and Dublin airports
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Address: Lairakeen House, Banagher, Co Galway
Price: €2,650,000
Agent: Sotheby's International Realty Ireland

A very large country house on 53 acres near Banagher, once owned by Roger Whittaker, is for sale nearly 20 years after the singer-songwriter completely refurbished and modernised it.

Whittaker – whose hits in the 1960s and 1970s included Durham Town and New World in the Morning – and his wife, Natalie, put the 828sq m (8,913sq ft) Shannon-side property up for sale in 2005, close to the peak of the market, and the current owner paid €5 million for the house. It is now for sale through Sotheby’s International for €2.65 million.

Lairakeen House, which comes with a guest cottage, studio apartment in a coach house and a recording studio, is decorated to a baronial style, with lots of mahogany panelling, a number of formal reception rooms and five bedrooms.

What most attracted the current vendor – whose late partner had knee problems – to the property was its lift in the main hall. Its 53 acres include lawns, a walled garden and parkland meadows running down to the river, connecting to a small island and a boathouse – the estate has 400 yards of river frontage.


County boundary

The present house – earlier called Kilnaborris and Shannon View, according to the NUI Galway Landed Estates Database, and renamed by Whittaker – was modelled on a house dating back to 1705 but mainly built in 1870. Badly damaged by fire in 1931, it was rebuilt in 2002 by the Whittakers, who purchased it in 2000 for €672,000. The house is situated in Galway, across the river – the county boundary – from Banagher, Co Offaly.

The current vendor has made a number of changes to Lairakeen, installing an Aga in the kitchen and, outdoors, building sheds, workshops and stables.

Lairakeen is a grand country house, where a wide oak staircase rises from a porcelain-tiled front hall. The many downstairs rooms include a library,  drawingroom and diningroom with carved timber chimneypieces, a glazed sunroom with views over parkland to the Shannon and a back staircase leading to the first and the lower ground floor.

The recording studio, an office and a family room are located on this lower ground floor along with the kitchen, a wine cellar and a laundry room. The kitchen has a tiled floor, a cream-coloured four-oven Aga and cream units.

The main bedroom upstairs has a dressing room, an en suite with Jacuzzi bath and shower, and a bay window with views of the river. Two more of the five bedrooms have a shared en suite and a fifth bedroom has views of the formal gardens.

There’s a large terrace behind the house, lawns, an orchard, glasshouses and parkland with elm, beech and sycamore trees.

Eight stables

The 96sq m (1,029sq ft) guest cottage outside includes a gym, sauna and solarium; the timber-panelled loft studio apartment in the coach house has a games room, kitchenette, bedroom and shower room. The coach-house also has garaging and a large workshop. There are eight stables opening into an enclosed courtyard.

Lairakeen is an hour from Galway, and 1½ to two hours from Shannon and Dublin airports.

Kenyan-born Roger Whittaker and his wife moved to Eyrecourt, Co Galway, after selling Lairakeen before moving on to France.

Frances O'Rourke

Frances O'Rourke

Frances O'Rourke, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about homes and property