JN 17 (N53 AND N2) TOWARDS CASTLEBLANEY
When you can trace your roots to Attila the Hun and your family history is littered with poets, painters, war heroes and people with passions for monster hunting or UFOs – you will never be at a loss for a tale to tell. When your home is also one of the last great Irish Castle Estates still in the hands of its founding family, every door opens onto another story rich with personal connections.
Perhaps you will feel the eclectic creative energy as you follow in their steps, gazing on Glaslough – the magical “green lake” – that first enticed “fighting bishop” John Leslie, who famously defeated Oliver Cromwell’s forces, to buy the estate in 1664. Which bedroom shall be yours in this sumptuous castle hotel? The Mauve Room where an Earl hid in the big white wardrobe in order to surprise a Queen? The Nursery where the giant dollhouse has been ingeniously transformed into a bathroom? Original features, antiques and curios all have their tales to tell. With its magnificent four poster bed, The Red Room is blessed with the most stunning views of Glaslough lake and the pleasure gardens. Except for the noble French `armoire’ cupboard, all the furniture in the room came from Perugia in Italy.
The huge panelled bath is the first bath ever installed in Ireland. The Red Room has accommodated numerous famous guests, including Irish poet. W.B. Yeats. Outside, 1,000 acres of rolling parkland refresh body and spirit, while the four-mile Famine Wall, built in the 1840s as a relief project, reminds how Christina Leslie conscientiously helped local people in those dark times of hardship and hunger by providing employment and soup kitchens. A monument in Glaslough Village marks their gratitude.
Distant times now, as you walk or horse ride through the parkland, luxuriate in the spa, savour seasonal temptations in the restaurant or chat to locals in Conor’s Bar in The Lodge. Yes, there’s always plenty to chat about.