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Castle Leslie


Castle Leslie, home to an Irish branch of Clan Leslie, is located on a estate adjacent to the village of Glasloughmarker, north-east of Monaghanmarker town in County Monaghanmarker, Irelandmarker.

Architecture

The Castle is fashioned in the Scottish Baronial style and was designed by the firm of Lanyon, Lynn and Lanyon in 1870 for Sir John Leslie, 1st Baronet MP. It is situated where an earlier castle stood and, therefore, never had a defensive purpose. The house presents a rather dour and austere façade and is sited in such a way so as to mask the gardens to an approaching visitor. To the rear of the house the gardens are relieved by an Renaissance style cloister which links the main house to a single storey wing containing the Library and Billiard Room. In contrast to the exterior designed by W.H. Lynn, the interior shows the hands of Lanyon and John Leslie himself through its strong Italian Renaissance feel.

The Estate

The Estate has three lakes, the largest Glaslough (Irish for Green Lake) shares the name with the local village, Kilvey Lake is to the north, and Dream Lake which features a Crannog. The estate boasts beautiful park land, meandering streams and several forests. The house is still home to the Leslie family with both Sir Jack Leslie and Samantha (Sammy) Leslie still being in residence. Dwaine Colton a distant family relation also resides in the castle grounds. Other family members still assert their influence on the running of the estate through a family trust.

Present Status

The estate is open to paying guests, who can stay in the former Hunting Lodge, the main house itself, the recently constructed traditional-style holiday cottages located in the village or the fully restored and refitted Old Stable Mews.

While restoration of the house and grounds is ongoing, many new features have been added to the estate, including a Spa, a Bar, a Restaurant, a Pavillion, Tennis courts though there is only one & it is overgrown & lacks a net, and a Cookery School. The new Pavillion, adjacent to the long gallery, means conferences, weddings and other large events no longer need occupy the Castle itself. Work on restoring the walled garden is also continuing.

2004 saw the return to the estate of the Equestrian Centre and Hunting Lodge which had been sold out of the family twenty years previously. The estate now features miles of new horse trails and jumps, a state-of-the-art indoor horse arena and new stabling. Walkers are also catered for with many trails upgraded and clearly signposted, a new estate map being available from the Hunting lodge.

2005 saw 5 new ground floor bedrooms being added to the castle, the Desmond Leslie room, the Agnes Bernelle Room, the Helen Strong Room, Sir Jack's Room and the only room in the castle not named after a family member, The Calm Room.

Notoriety and Fame

Castle Leslie hit the headlines in 2002 when Sir Paul McCartney married Heather Mills in the family church located on the estate, followed by a wedding banquet for 300 guests prepared by then executive chef, Noel McMeel. This secret was inadvertently divulged to the media by Sir John Leslie, who notoriously remarked on live television "it's on Tuesday, but it's a secret". More recently, in 2008, the castle was the venue of the launch of RAPID IRELAND (Rescue and Preparedness in Disasters, Ireland), a sister rescue charity to RAPID UK. The event was hosted by Sir John Leslie and Baron Oranmore and Browne, and attended by a number of ambassadors and dignitaries, including HRH Prince Richard, the Duke of Gloucester.

Throughout the years many a famous face has frequented the house including Irish poet WB Yeats, Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, British astronomer Patrick Moore and Prince Pierre of Monaco, not to mention various members of the Churchill family (to whom the Leslies are related).

The castle has had two recent brushes with reality TV. During RTEmarker's Fáilte Towers, Brian Dowling chose Don Baker, Evelyn Cusack and Jennifer Maguire to take time out from the stress of the programme with a day and night's pampering at the castle, proprietor Sammy Leslie being one of the judges on the show. In Series 5 of ITV1's The X Factor, the castle was chosen as Louis's 'house', the six groups mentored by Louis Walsh being invited to spend a couple of days at the hotel so that he and guest judge, Westlife's Shane Filan, could select the three who would be going through to the live shows.

References

Castle Leslie Official site


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