Annamoe. Laragh, Co Wicklow
asking price: €850,000
Agent: Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes (01) 2376308
For decades it was a musical family home where Jack Nicholson drank tea and Van Morrison composed.
While Paddy Moloney and The Chieftains are credited with bringing traditional Irish music to audiences worldwide – as far away as the US and China – few know that almost the entire 44-album catalog of this legendary group is here in one room in Annamoe was composed , Co Wicklow.
The detached, 968 square foot, split level, four bedroom home was the home and retreat of the late Moloney – the musician, composer, record producer and founding member of The Chieftains.
It was here that he and his wife Rita O’Reilly raised their family of three children, Aonghus, Padraig and Aedin. Now Rita is selling after Paddy’s death in October last year.
The house has its own music room, in which Paddy’s grand piano still stands. This is where The Chieftains wrote and rehearsed the tunes that earned them six Grammys since 1975 before being recorded or played to audiences.
“The house was always filled with music,” recalls Rita, who married Paddy in 1963 after meeting when she was 15 and he was 20.
“The whole thing was composed in the music room, with Paddy on the grand piano. Van Morrison also spent a lot of time there composing an album and we had quite a few visits from other musicians and celebrities.
“In fact, I never knew who Paddy would bring home. I’ve always said, ‘Don’t talk to anyone on the street’ because there’s a good chance he’ll invite you back,” she laughs.
She describes her New Year’s Eve parties in Annamoe as “legendary” and remembers one in particular. “I was angry with Paddy that night for bringing so many people. He knew I was angry and took them all outside to dance around the house so I had time to cool off.
“A man came into the kitchen where I was cooking at the time. “I’m Jack,” he said, and I said, “Nice to meet you” and “Sit down.” At the time I told the two drivers about Paddy, and I thought he was different because he was wearing a cap. I offered him a glass of champagne but he said he would have a cup of tea. Then someone came in and said, ‘Ah Jack, you graced us with your presence.’ It was Jack Nicholson and I didn’t even realize it.”
Angelica Heuston also attended the party that night and sang a song. Jim Kerr from Simple Minds showed up. Garech de Brun and his wife Princess Harshad Purna were regular visitors, as were film director John Boorman, TV presenter Thelma Mansfield and her husband, the late photographer Johnny Morris.
But Annamoe was far from party-ready when Paddy and Rita first bought it in 1975. An average three bedroom bungalow which over the years they have remodeled and gradually expanded to create three levels.
“The house you see today is all Paddy makes,” says Rita. “He designed and commissioned every element himself.”
Most rooms feature large exposed pine beams. Some of these came from Belfast Loch, others had been made by Paddy.
A porch at the front entrance of the house opens onto the kitchen, which was considered Rita’s domain. “Even there, he once opted for the countertop when I was gone,” she says. “When I came back I found this white marble countertop and I was like, ‘My God, I can’t cook on this paddy!'”
To the right of the kitchen is a double bedroom with en-suite bathroom. French doors open to a conservatory and this leads to a terrace and the garden. There are a total of four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a living/dining room, a library room and a gallery.
The home was made the host. Behind the kitchen is the living/dining room with a wooden table from 1910 that seats 14 people. It connects to an open plan hallway used as an art gallery.
It contains a long granite sculpture by Rita’s father, Faley O’Reilly, who was a stonemason and which Paddy designed and commissioned. Faley and Rita’s brother Bartle also made the stone fireplaces, the grandest version in the living/dining room.
The gallery staircase leads to another level below, with the famous Music Room to the right with its high ceiling, large stacked stone fireplace and floor to ceiling window overlooking the Wicklow countryside.
There is Rita’s library, which she enjoyed reading but was not pleased when Paddy installed a TV in it a few years ago. “I don’t watch TV,” she says. “We had such an argument about putting the TV in my library that Paddy had a granite seat made for me out in the woods so I could go and read.”
Upstairs are two more double bedrooms and a bathroom. “Our kids took the bus to school from Enniskerry in Dublin,” says Rita. “They were always bringing friends home, so we needed a lot of space.”
There is a lawn, wild meadow, a pond and a wooden hut and a porch for barbecues in summer.
Rita now lives in the couple’s other home in Dublin. Despite such happy memories, she has no qualms about selling Annamoe.
“About August of last year, out of the blue, Paddy proposed selling Annamoe,” she says. “I was shocked, as he used to call it, and not the Dublin house, home. But he said: “I think it’s best if we sell it as we’re getting too old to ride up and down.” It’s what he wanted.”
Sherry FitzGerald is asking €850,000 for Rita.
https://www.independent.ie/life/home-garden/i-never-knew-who-paddy-would-bring-home-chieftain-paddy-moloneys-wicklow-throne-where-he-hosted-van-morrison-and-jack-nicholson-for-sale-41972448.html ‘I never knew who Paddy would bring home’ – Chief Paddy Moloney’s Wicklow Throne, on which he hosted Van Morrison and Jack Nicholson, for sale