Former London construction worker raffles Donegal island home


Bryan Gallagher, who spent years in London working as a tunnel tiger on the London Bridge tunnel and the port tunnel, and his wife Lisa are raffling their €250,000 home he built in his home island of Arranmore.

Bryan came to London at 16 from the island off the coast of Donegal. When he returned home to the island he built the house. Now the children are going to college, it seems too big for just Bryan and his wife Lisa.

With Brexit and then Covid making selling the house very difficult, the couple have decided to raffle the house meaning someone could own the beautiful home for the price of a £10 raffle ticket.

Lisa Gallagher told The Irish World: “We said, ‘You know what? What have we got to lose?’ Imagine for ten pounds someone can own this house. It’s amazing, isn’t it?

“It’s a great opportunity.

“We get messages every day from people who want more information on why we’re doing it. It’s a beautiful home and people just think we’re mad to let it go.

“The beach is walking distance. The pubs are amazing and the traditional Irish music is unbelievable. Daniel O’Donnell lives in Donegal and he comes to Arranmore a lot. He has a big connection with the island.

“I’m from England myself. When I first came to Arranmore, I couldn’t believe such a place existed. It’s just amazing and the people there are so friendly.”

The house is built on land where Bryan was raised for seven years.

“Originally Bryan and his family lived in Glasgow and moved home when he was seven. He’s one of four. They moved back and they rented a stone house on the site where the house is now.

“There was no heating, the bathroom was outside. It was just a stone block really and they lived in it for seven years until their house was built.

“His dad was a tunnel tiger and worked away on the tunnels. He would be away working sending money home and they eventually built their home that they moved into.

“When the site became available Bryan decided he really wanted to buy it.

“He always wanted to have a home on the island. The project went for about seven years because at the time Bryan was working on the tunnels. He was on the Channel tunnel and Jubilee line extention.

“We moved over to Ireland in 2000 but we live in Letterkenny. We used it as a holiday home. All his family is there, his mum and dad are both from the island. We used the house a lot but the children are college age now and the house is just not getting used as much as we would like to and it’s such a shame. It’s a beautiful house.

“We had it up for sale. We had someone come from London really interested and then he was so worried about Brexit at the time he pulled out and then Covid. We’re not even allowed out of our 5k so there’s no chance you can get anyone to view the house. We can’t even go to it ourselves.

Proceeds from the raffle also go to a very worthy cause.

“We’re donating 5% to Pieta House which is a mental health organisation which we have got close connection to. It’s helped our family so we really want to give back to them. The more we raise the more money we can give to them.”

The raffle continues until July or as long as tickets remain.

For more information and to buy a ticket, click here.

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