Michael Jackson's Irish retreat for rent


A HOUSE which Michael Jackson was refurbishing as an Irish retreat is to be launched as a self-catering holiday mansion.

Bishopstown House in Co Westmeath was bought in trust for Jackson in 2006 by the well-known entrepreneur Paddy Dunning who owns the nearby Grouse Lodge Studios which are popular with artists such as R.E.M, Manic Street Preachers and Snow Patrol.

Jackson spent time in Ireland in 2005 after his trial on allegations of improper relations with minors and fell in love with the house which was in a dilapidated state.

The house was being renovated just before Jackson’s death last year and was left in limbo.

It was while recording demos of his new album in 2006 that he decided to look for a more permanent home in Ireland before discovering Bishopstown House which is in Rosemount.

In 2008, Dunning applied on his behalf for planning permission to Westmeath County Council to refurbish the house and add a number of maisonettes. There were also plans for an indoor swimming pool. At the time the fact that the work was being done for Jackson was kept secret from the public.

All restoration work was stopped on Jackson’s death, but Dunning decided to finish the job having got permission from the Jackson family to do so. The renovated house has six spacious bedrooms, most of which feature four poster beds, and it can sleep 13. Most of the rooms are en suite with large bathrooms on a new wooden wing all featuring outstanding views of the surrounding countryside.

Bishopstown is on offer at €1,200 per three-night weekend stay, with mid-weeks for €600.