The death has occurred of The Hon Garech de Brun, one of the most colourful characters in Irish cultural life over the past 50 years. He was aged 78.
The eldest of the three sons of Dominick Browne – the 4th Lord Oranmore and Browne – and his second wife, Oonagh Guinness, he lived most of his life at Luggala in Co Wicklow, a house made famous by his parties, which were attended by many musical luminaries of the 1960s, including the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
In 1962, he set up Claddagh Records and asked his friend, uileann piper Paddy Moloney, to form a group to record a one-off album. Paddy responded with the first line-up for The Chieftains. Mr de Brun’s cousin Rory Guinness, of the famed brewing dynasty, paid tribute. “One of life’s original characters has been lost,” he told the Sunday Independent. “He was so passionate about the arts in Ireland throughout his life, and had been working with the OPW on an exhibition at Farmleigh despite his declining health.
“I remember my mother Miranda always being in awe of the parties at Luggala. Whilst my parents were busy looking after the worlds of politics and business at Farmleigh, Garech was looking after the musicians and writers, the creative arts, that was drawn by the beauty of Luggala and his own innate charm. Garech’s talents bought joy to so many,” he said.
Another former house, Woodtown Manor, near Dublin was for many years a welcoming place for Irish poets, writers and musicians and was associated with the traditional group Clannad, who made several recordings there. He also made a number of recordings of the poets Richard Murphy, Seamus Heaney, John Montague and others reading their works. He was a friend a patron of artist Francis Bacon. His father had the rare distinction of sitting silently in the House of Lords for 72 years until his death, aged 100, in 2002, without ever having spoken in a debate.
As both his parents were married three times, he has had two stepmothers and two stepfathers and also has a number of elder half siblings. His only full brother, The Hon Tara Browne was a young London socialite whose death at age 21 in a car crash in London’s West End was immortalised in the song “A Day in the Life” by the Beatles.
The film producer Noel Pearson said; “This is very sad news. He was an exceptional man. He was really great company and he could be very funny and amusing. It’s very sad indeed to hear he has died.”
George Jones Chairman of the La Touche Legacy in a statement on the death of Garech de Brun said ” On behalf of the La Touche Legacy Committee I would like to extend our deepest sympathy to Princess Harshad Purna Devi on the sudden death of Garech.
I would also express sympathy to all Garech’s staff at Luggala. Garech was Honorary President of the La Touche Legacy Committee and always provided wonderful hospitality for various functions such as the launch of the Seminar and the annual summer visits by the Committee to the house and estate. He also facilitated visits from the German-Irish Society of Wurzburg to Luggala.
Ar Dheis Dé go raibh a anam Delis.