EXCLUSIVE HOUSE OF PRAYER ‘VISIONARY’ LIVES THE LIFE OF A HOLLYWOOD SUPERSTAR NEXT DOOR TO CELEBS
Well heavens above its……
By JIM GALLAGHER Sunday World
Pages 24/25 March 11, 2012
Bird’s eye view of pad paid for by followers
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IT’S the type of palace usually owned by Royalty or a Hollywood superstar.
But this fabulous mansion is home to Christina Gallagher, the House of Prayer ‘visionary’ who likes to boast she has no interest in material wealth. This is the first time the extraordinary house on a millionaire’s row in the private Abington Estate in Malahide, Co Dublin, has been photographed from the air. And the heavenly view shows the mansion in all its glory, surrounded by landscaped gardens, manicured lawns, fountains and tree-lined driveway. The stunning home was bought with cash donated by Gallagher’s devotees, who thought they were giving money to her House of Prayer on Achill Island, Co Mayo. Followers were threatened with eternal damnation if they had money and refused to hand it over for “Our Lady’s cause.”
Instead, the money was used to allow the 58-year-old grandmother to live in absolute luxury. The Sunday World first uncovered this astonishing home four years ago when it was worth a whopping €4million. Unbeknown to her legion of followers – many of whom had given their life savings to the supposed holy woman – Gallagher had already been secretly living there for two years. Once we revealed her amazing
lifestyle, Gallagher claimed the Virgin Mary had guided her to the house. The guru of greed never explained why Jesus’s mother thought she needed such a prestigious house, on the same private estate as pop stars Ronan Keating and Nicky Byrne.
Nor why she needed five reception rooms, five en suite bedrooms, and a separate coach house with garaging for three cars. And while she was living in luxury, her website still claimed funds were “urgently needed” to complete the House of Prayer in Achill and six sister houses in the US and Mexico. Now our aerial photographs show the property is even more spectacular than first imagined. Its extensive landscaped garden is completely secluded and can only be seen from the air. Gravel pathways with ornate pergolas, a gazebo surrounded by ornamental trees and shrubs and immaculately laid flower beds would have cost Gallagher tens of thousands of euro. Unique glass panelling at the back of the house gives the classic home an ultra-modern feel. But there is no sign of the bomb shelter for which Gallagher was collecting cash two years ago. The wealthy fraudster, who claims to receive regular apocalyptic messages about the end of the world from the Virgin Mary and Jesus, slammed supporters in the summer of 2010 for not giving enough to build an underground bunker ordered by Our Lady. But Gallagher was not content with this magnificent pile, built in 2003. Last year the Sunday World uncovered a £2million mansion she had secretly “procured” for herself in Shropshire, England.
After we carried an exposé on that 11,500 sq ft property – bought without a mortgage and registered in her plumber son Brendan’s name – Gallagher claimed it was a “refuge” because we had publicised the Malahide mansion. The cult leader even admitted on her website that she got her followers to buy it for her. Donors had to sign legal contracts saying they knew their donations were for her “personal use”.
The money was described as an “absolute” gift which could never be reclaimed “at any time, under any circumstances”. The seven-bedroom and seven-bathroom mansion had its own lake, indoor swimming pool, snooker room, seven person hot-tub, indoor lift, gym and steam room. Gallagher sold the sprawling five acre estate towards the end of last year, even though she had claimed Jesus had guided her to it.
The Sunday World has also uncovered a portfolio of other fabulous properties bought by the woman born into poverty but who has grown rich since opening the Achill House of Prayer in 1993. We uncovered a luxury home outside Newport which was filled with antique furniture, jewellery and a four-poster bed specially imported from Harrods in London. Gallagher bought a fabulous €1million mansion outside Ballina, Co Mayo, for her daughter Mary in 2007. It is the biggest house for miles around. She also bought a house for son Brendan and still owned a share in her marital home with estranged husband Paddy.
Our exclusive revelations have rocked the House of Prayer organisation. Last summer the entire board resigned after becoming disillusioned with the Mayo mystic. So too did her main fundraiser in Ireland. Her right-hand man in America, John Rooney, also quit after a bitter split with the woman he once revered. All mention of him and the House of Prayer he built for her in Ohio was wiped from her website. Gallagher, who has not had a job since launching the House of Prayer nearly two decades ago, has always refused to reveal how she paid for her astonishing lifestyle.
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