Classiebawn Castle

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Classiebawn Castle

Classiebawn Castle is a country house built for Viscount Palmerston on what was formerly a 10,000 acre estate on the Mullaghmore peninsula near the village of Cliffoney, County Sligo, in the Republic of Ireland.[1] The current castle was largely built in the nineteenth century.

It was designed in the Baronial style by J. Rawson Carrol, a Dublin-based architect, and is constructed from a yellow-brown sandstone brought by sea from County Donegal. It comprises a gabled range with a central tower topped by a conical roofed turret.

The land, which once belonged to the O'Connor Sligo, was confiscated by the English Parliament to recompense the people concerned in putting down an Irish rebellion. Around 10,000 acres of land on which Classiebawn now stands was granted to Sir John Temple, Master of the Rolls in Ireland.[2]

The property passed down to The 3rd Viscount Palmerston, the statesman who served as both British Prime Minister and British Foreign Secretary. It was this Lord Palmerston who commissioned the building of the current Classiebawn Castle and the harbour at Mullaghmore. The house was not complete on his death in 1865, but was completed in 1874 by his stepson and successor, The Rt. Hon. William Cowper-Temple, P.C., M.P. (later created The 1st Baron Mount Temple). The latter died childless in 1888 and the estate passed to his nephew, The Hon. Evelyn Ashley, second surviving son of The 7th Earl of Shaftesbury. Evelyn Ashley spent some time there each year and on his death in 1907 was succeeded by his only son, Wilfred William Ashley (later created Baron Mount Temple in a new creation). He also spent his summers at the castle with his daughters Edwina, the future Countess Mountbatten, and Mary, the future Lady Delamere.[2]

In 1916 the house was cleared and remained empty until 1950. It was inherited by Edwina, Lady Mountbatten (when she was still officially styled as Lady Louis Mountbatten), in 1939 who, with her husband Admiral of the Fleet The 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, made a number of improvements, installing electricity and a mains water supply. After his wife's death in 1960, Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, spent his summers there until his death when his boat was blown up off the coast of Mullaghmore by the IRA in August 1979.[2]

The castle and surrounding lands are now owned by Hugh Tunney, a retired businessman, who bought the castle and 3,000 acres of surrounding estate in 1991 after having leased it for many years.[2]

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Coordinates: 54°27′30″N 8°28′00″W / 54.4584°N 8.4668°W / 54.4584; -8.4668