House Hunters International filmed an episode about our purchasing story. It is episode 10 of season 111, and aired on HGTV on September 25-26th 2017. It is a reality show episode called "Castle-Hunting in Ireland". It is a re-enactment - the show does not find anyone properties...
It airs again periodically on HGTV or You can search for it on YouTube
The episode was filmed in 2017 after we had bought the property, and substitutes habitable castles for sale instead of the other ruins we looked at. This was due to the format of the show which concentrates on places people can actually live in, versus ruins! Our budget is also modified - in the show it is set at $900K in order to see the habitable places for sale. Our total budget is a much more modest $500K which includes the original purchase for €150K of the castle and 5.5 acres of land.
The show features these castles in addition to Sigginstown:
Ballyhannon in Clare
Turin in Mayo
Caherkinmonwee in Galway
We did not really know what to expect when we started talking to the casting staff for a TV episode. In general we have stayed away from social media and mass media until this castle project. We don't even watch TV that much, so this was a new idea for all..
After telling Val we would be interested in being on the show, we had several Skype videos with the Liz from casting, and had to fill out a number of forms. The process started in June of 2016
We then recorded a few casting videos ourselves. This one is a compilation of the smaller sequences, which we uploaded for them to see. The agency who produces the show had to pitch the story to HGTV. We guess the story and characters seemed okay to them! In December 2016 we heard that the episode had been approved for production...
One Saturday in early April we filmed for one day in Connecticut at our house and surrounding areas of Southbury. We had cleaned the house like mad and redecorated a bit, but we only filmed in two rooms. There were a number of themes involved, chose by Rene the producer. (alas, he did not get to come to any of our shoots so we hope to meet him one day.) Ethan was the Director and kept close to the schedule and basic storyline. The longest part was the backstory sitting in our two chairs. After that it was a series of short scenes, and we did a mini-SCA (medieval) event complete with changes of garb, archery and armor! We ended the day with our musical session friends coming over for a scene. (We really do play with them once a month.) Daniel was on Sound with Michael on camera. The crew was great - very calm and relaxed. Joel Wald from the Southbury Film Commission turned up also and took several of these shots... Thanks to all for a really fun time!
Fun Facts: Liz had made the checked wool garb 15 years ago and never finished it. So like any good SCA event, she was sewing up to the moment the crew arrived at 7:30 am! We do own bows and do archery, but have not practiced for a long time. Thank goodness the target was close! The armor is Gordon's - he fought in it for years. Ian took it over and went to high school in it one day! He also does throw axes...
A few weeks after the CT shoot we went to Ireland. We were going over for a castle conference, so it was a good time to film the five days at several sites across Ireland. Helen Cassidy was recruited to be a lead as our auctioneer. This is actually true for all the castles we looked at before Sigginstown (Keane Auctioneers sold it to us). We had a great time with Helen (who we had only spoken to on the phone previously), and the crew was all new except for Val. They were a lot of fun, and Director LizL stuck to the schedule and again mostly to the story line. We got to see three castles (two to purchase and one for education), plus we visited Ashford Castle for lunch and got to attend the falconry school there! We also were able to squeeze in a scene with our two Student Design Contest winners, Adam and Margaux, and shot two scenes in Meyler's Millhouse Bar. Ed and Noel were on camera and sound, and Sarah was our fantastic local "fixer". Thanks to Ballyhannon, Turin and Caherkinmonwee castles for agreeing to film!
Fun facts: Liz had to wear the same shirt for four of the five days. We did not realize that until we had already chosen our wardrobes. We went to Tesco in Ireland and bought four of the same shirt for Gordon! We all had to wear no-logo clothes, which meant Ian needed a jacket all the time! Helen had to wear the same clothes too - her lucky castle-selling garb. We hope she gets some more castles sold out of this episode!
If the link to the left doesn't work, search for "HHI castle hunting in Ireland" on Youtube...
We had a great time filming it and had a very positive experience overall! We think the bloopers and out-takes can be just as much fun as the show, and this is as much a tribute to the two crews (and hidden staff who cast, coordinate, produce and edit the film) as it is to show some fun "inside" info on our episode!
In retrospect, we are not sure the two crews get to see each other's product so here it is...