Walter Pfeiffer // Sotheby's International
Walter Pfeiffer // Sotheby's International

Former Castle of Guinness Beer Heiress for Sale in Ireland

Walter Pfeiffer // Sotheby's International
Walter Pfeiffer // Sotheby's International

Looking for a venue for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities? The former castle of a Guinness Beer heiress is now up for sale, according to TopTenRealEstateDeals.com. Sotheby’s International lists the Irish estate at nearly $30 million.

The "Luggala" mansion has stood for centuries, but its heyday came in the mid 20th century. Ernest Guinness, the great-great-grandson of the beer company’s founder, gave the castle as a wedding gift to his daughter Oonagh, Lady Oranmore and Browne, in 1937. During her occupation, the house was the site of scandalous partying, drama, and tragedy.

That period in the property’s history was so notorious that it became the subject of a 2012 book titled Luggala Days: The Story of a Guinness House. In it, author Robert O’Byrne writes, "Guests were invited for drinks or dinner, only to emerge several days later blinking at the harsh light of the ordinary world, aware that during that lost period of time they had enjoyed themselves immensely without necessarily being clear about the details of how or why, or even with whom." Some notable houseguests included Michael Jackson, Bono, and the Rolling Stones.

The gothic castle survived decades of debauchery and managed to retain its 18th-century charm. The 5000-acre property comprises seven lodges and cottages, gardens, a guest house, and a seven-bedroom main structure. And if the new owners feel inspired to make a pilgrimage to the birthplace of Guinness beer, Dublin is within driving distance.

Antonio Martinelli // Sotheby's International

TB // Sotheby's International

Antonio Martinelli // Sotheby's International

Antonio Martinelli // Sotheby's International

[h/t TopTenRealEstateDeals.com]

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The World’s 10 Most Beautiful Metro Stations
T-Centralen Station in Stockholm, Sweden
T-Centralen Station in Stockholm, Sweden

Some of the most beautiful places on earth lie just below the surface. For proof, look no further than T-Centralen in Stockholm, Sweden, which has just been named the most beautiful metro station in the world by Expedia.

The travel site used Google Trends to analyze the most-mentioned metro stations in the U.S. and Europe, but Expedia ultimately chose the order of its top 10 list and threw in a couple of other hidden gems. Russia and Sweden frequently popped up in their research, so it’s no surprise that stations in those countries secured the top two spots on Expedia's list.

Dubbed “the blue platform,” T-Centralen is the main station of Stockholm’s subway system, and it’s also one of the most ornate. Royal blue flowers and plant patterns creep up cave-like walls, and another section pays tribute to the workers who helped build the Metro. It has been suggested that the color blue was chosen to help commuters feel calmer as they go about their busy days.

A section of T-Centralen
iStock

It was the first station in Sweden to feature artwork, which stemmed from a 1956 competition to decorate the city’s metro stops. Over the years, more than 20 artists have contributed their work to various stations throughout the city, some of which have tackled important social and environmental themes like women’s rights, inclusivity, and deforestation.

In second place is Moscow’s Kosomolskaya Station, which also has an interesting origin story. When the Metro started operating in 1935, it was designed to help promote Soviet propaganda. Kosomolskaya Station, named for workers of the Komsomol youth league who helped build the first Metro line, had marble walls with gilded mosaics, crystal chandeliers, sculptures of fallen leaders, and painted scenes depicting important moments in Russian history. “Unlike the dirty, utilitarian systems of many cities around the world, the Moscow metro drives through a former—but not forgotten—stage of history that sought to bring palaces to the masses,” Expedia’s report states.

Komsomolskaya Station
Komsomolskaya Station in Moscow, Russia

Most of the stations on Expedia’s list are in Europe, but three are in the U.S., including two in New York City and one in Washington, D.C.

Here’s the full top 10 list:

1. T-Centralen Station (Stockholm, Sweden)
2. Kosomolskaya Station (Moscow, Russia)
3. Arts Et Métiers Station (Paris, France)
4. The Wesfriedhof Station (Munich, Germany)
5. Toledo Metro Station (Naples, Italy)
6. Staromestska Station (Prague, Czech Republic)
7. Metro Center Station (Washington, D.C, USA)
8. Mayakovskaya station (Moscow, Russia)
9. Abandoned City Hall Station (New York, USA)
10. New York City’s Grand Central Terminal (New York, USA)

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iStock
India's Supreme Court Demands That the Taj Mahal Be Restored or Demolished
iStock
iStock

The Taj Mahal is one of the most recognizable monuments on Earth, but over the years it's started to look less like its old self. Smog and insect droppings are staining the once pure-white marble exterior an unseemly shade of yellow. Now, The Art Newspaper reports that India's Supreme Court has set an ultimatum: It's threatening to shut down or demolish the building if it's not restored to its former glory.

Agra, the town where the Taj Mahal is located, has a notorious pollution problem. Automobile traffic, factory smoke, and the open burning of municipal waste have all contributed to the landmark's increasing discoloration. Insects and acid rain also pose a threat to the facade, which is already crumbling away in some parts.

India's highest court now says the country's central government must seek foreign assistance to restore the UNESCO World Heritage Site if it's to remain open. Agra's state of Uttar Pradesh has taken some steps to reduce pollution in recent years, such us banning the burning of cow dung, which produces heavy brown carbon. In 2015, India's Supreme Court ordered all wood-burning crematoriums near the Taj Mahal to be swapped for electric ones.

But the measures haven't done enough to preserve the building. A committee led by the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpu reportedly plans to investigate the exact sources of pollution in the area, a process that will take about four months. The Supreme Court plans check in on the status of site every day from July 31.

Air pollution isn't the only factor damaging the Taj Mahal. It was constructed near the Yamuna River in the 17th century, and as the water gradual dries up, the ground beneath the structure is shifting. If the trend continues it could lead to the building's total collapse.

[h/t The Art Newspaper]

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