Slane Castle

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Slane Castle
Caisleán Bhaile Shláine
Slane, Ireland
Slane Castle coMeath.jpg
Slane Castle seen from within its grounds
Slane Castle is located in Ireland
Slane Castle
Slane Castle
Site information
Owner The Marquess Conyngham
Controlled by Slane Castle Ltd
Open to
the public
Yes
Site history
Built 1701 (1701)
In use Still in use
Events Slane Concert

Slane Castle is located in the town of Slane, within the Boyne Valley of County Meath, Ireland. The castle has been the family home of the Conyngham family since the 18th century.[1]

It holds the Slane Concert event within its grounds, with the Irish Independent claiming in 2004 that "Slane today is the kind of internationally-recognised venue that can claim even Madonna's attention".[2] Its sloping lawns form a natural amphitheatre.[3]

History[edit]

Slane Castle

Overlooking the River Boyne, just a few kilometres upstream from Newgrange and the site of the famous Battle of the Boyne, Slane Castle in its existing form was constructed under the direction of William Burton Conyngham, together with his nephew The 1st Marquess Conyngham. The reconstruction dates back to 1785 and is principally the work of James Gandon, James Wyatt and Francis Johnston. Francis Johnston was also the architect responsible for the gothic gates on the Mill Hill, located to the east of the castle.

The Conyngham's are originally a Scottish Protestant family, who planted in Ireland in 1611, during the Plantation of Ulster in County Donegal. With that, the family asserted control over lands around the village of Tamhnach an tSalainn, near Donegal Town in the south of County Donegal. Concurrently, the then head of the family, Charles Conyngham, renamed the village in his own honor as "Mount Charles".[4] The family also controlled an extensive estate in West Donegal, especially in The Rosses district.

The association between the Conynghams and the Slane Estate in County Meath dates back over 300 years, ever since the property was purchased by the family following the Williamite Confiscations in 1701. Around that time, the family moved their main ancestral seat south from County Donegal in west Ulster to Slane. Prior to this, Slane Castle had been in the possession of the Flemings, Anglo-Norman Catholics who had aligned themselves with the Jacobites in the War of the Grand Alliance, and thus after the Williamite victory, their property was eligible for confiscation. Christopher Fleming, 22nd of Slane, 17th Lord, Viscount Longford (1669 – 14 July 1726), was the last Fleming Lord of Slane. The present owner of the castle is Henry Conyngham who styles himself,[5] as the 8th Marquess Conyngham.

In 1991, a fire in the castle caused extensive damage to the building and completely gutted the eastern section facing the River Boyne. The castle reopened in 2001 after the completion of a ten-year restoration programme. In 2003, a cannon associated with the castle was found in the nearby River Boyne[6]

On the eastward side of the castle demesne, directly between the river Boyne and the villages Church of Ireland chapel in Slane, lay the ruins of St. Erc's Hermitage a 15th-century multi-storey chapel, and with some 500 metres westward of St. Erc's Hermitage an ancient well can also be found. In one of the central texts of Irish mythology, the Cath Maige Tuireadh, this well is said to have been blessed by the God Dian Cecht so that the Tuatha Dé Danann could bathe in it and be healed, allegedly healing all mortal wounds except decapitation.[7] However with the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, and the policy of Christian reinterpretation for traditionally pagan sites, the well is now more commonly referred to as Our lady's well.

Concerts at Slane[edit]

Main article: Slane Concert

Since 1981, the grounds of Slane Castle have been used to host rock concerts. The natural amphitheatre has an 80,000 person capacity.[8] The concerts were launched by the then Earl of Mount Charles (popularly known for several decades as Henry Mount Charles and known[by whom?] since March 2009 as The 8th Marquess Conyngham), the owner of the castle.

Performers who have headlined Slane concerts since 1981 include The Rolling Stones, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Queen, David Bowie, Neil Young, Bryan Adams, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Guns N' Roses, Madonna, R.E.M., Foo Fighters, Celtic Woman and Oasis. On 28 May 2011, Kings Of Leon headlined the 30th anniversary event at Slane Castle. Five support acts played, including Thin Lizzy, who in an earlier line-up headlined the first Slane Concert in 1982.[9]

Celtic Woman filmed their second DVD at Slane Castle, called Celtic Woman: A New Journey in August 2006, and U2 filmed the DVD U2 Go Home: Live From Slane Castle in 2001 but the DVD was released in 2003. They also recorded their 1984 album, The Unforgettable Fire, there while taking up residence for a time. The Red Hot Chili Peppers filmed the DVD Live at Slane Castle in 2003. Parts of Madonna's documentary-film I'm Going to Tell You a Secret were filmed at Slane Castle in 2004. Bon Jovi performed at Slane Castle in June 2013.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Slane Castle History: A Brief History by Henry, Eighth Marquess Conyngham Slane Castle
  2. ^ Rainy days & festivals Independent.ie, 10 July 2004
  3. ^ U2 and Slane Castle gear up for 20-year reunion RTÉ News, 24 August 2001
  4. ^ http://www.welovedonegal.com/tv-mountcharles.html
  5. ^ Article 40.2 of the Irish Constitution forbids the state conferring titles of nobility and a citizen may not accept titles of nobility or honour except with the prior approval of the Government, present titles of peerage being considered anachronistic, titles of nobility or peerage are thus regarded as simply courtesy titles.40.2, Constitution of Ireland (Dublin: Stationery Office) 
  6. ^ Slane Cannon find Newsfile; Retrieved 31 May 2011
  7. ^ Cath Maige Tuireadh. Elizabeth A. Gray (trans.)
  8. ^ A history of Slane Castle Concerts since 1981 Slane Castle
  9. ^ Up to 80,000 descend on Slane Irish Times, 28 May 2011

External links[edit]

Slane Castle