Couple battling in divorce court to each claim holiday home in Irish village

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A woman who has lived in homes around the world is embroiled in a divorce court fight over a holiday house in her "ancestral territory" in rural Ireland.

Margie Hanley, 56, and estranged husband Michael, 60 - who used to share a home in Wentworth, Surrey - both want a property they jointly own in the village of Cornamona, County Galway.

They are staking rival claims at a public hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

A judge began hearing evidence on Monday.

Mr Justice Holman heard how the couple's marriage had hit the rocks in recent years.

Mrs Hanley said she and Mr Hanley, who are both Irish, had lived in Europe, the Far East and the United States because his work had taken him abroad.

She explained how they had built a house in Cornamona several years ago and went there for holidays and at Christmas.

Mrs Hanley told Mr Justice Holman how generations of her family had lived in Cornamona.

She said her 92-year-old mother still lived there and was the oldest person in the village.

But Mr Hanley, who has retired after a career with multi-national conglomerate GE, says he also wants to live in Cornamona.

Mr Hanley says he likes to fish on a nearby lake and to meditate.

"It's where I have been all my life - generations of my family," Mrs Hanley told Mr Justice Holman.

"Life is full circle. It's where I started out. It's where I ended."

The judge said Mrs Hanley felt that Cornamona was her "ancestral territory".

Mrs Hanley, who still lives in Wentworth, said life was "much simpler" in Cornamona.

She said "one-horse town" was a good description.

"There is one road in and one road out," she said.

"There is one shop, one pub. The doctor visits once a week."

Mrs Hanley said Mr Hanley did not really want the house in Cornamona.

She told the judge: "He is just torturing me. He is just punishing me."

Mr Hanley said he wanted to live in the Cornamona house - and denied that he was trying to hurt Mrs Hanley.

He said the house had been extended over the years and had Jacuzzis and a work-out area - and he told the judge about "spectacular views".

"I like to fish," he said. "I like to walk, I play guitar, I like to cook, I like to read, I like to meditate."

The judge heard that there had been suggestions of Mrs Hanley living elsewhere in Cornamona.

He also raised the possibility of the pair, who have grown up children, using the house at different times of the year.

But Mrs Hanley told him: "We are getting divorced. The village isn't big enough for both of us."

The hearing continues.