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West front of the Castle
|Architectural style||Scots Baronial|
|Town or city||Glaslough, County Monaghan|
|Client||Sir John Leslie|
|Design and construction|
Castle Leslie Estate, home to an Irish branch of Clan Leslie and located on the 4 km², Castle Leslie is both the name of a historic Country House and 1,000-acre Estate adjacent to the village of Glaslough, 11 km (7 mi) north-east of Monaghan town in County Monaghan, Ireland.
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 never had a defensive purpose. The country 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 has three lakes: the largest, Glaslough (from the Irish Glas Loch or Glasloch, meaning Green Lake), shares its name with the local village; Kilvey Lake is to the north; and, finally, there is Dream Lake, which features a crannóg. The 1,000-acre (4.0 km2) estate comprises park land, meandering streams and several forests. The house is still home to the Leslie family with Sir Jack Leslie in residence and principal owner Samantha (Sammy) Leslie. Other family members still assert their influence on the running of the estate through a family trust.
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 and restaurant, and a Cookery School. A new pavilion, adjacent to the long gallery of the main house, facilitates conferences, weddings and other large events. Work on restoring the walled garden is also continuing, though for now they remain overgrown and locked.
2002 Saw Castle Leslie's chance to grab Fame due to former Beatles and Wings singer Paul McCartney and Model and Actress Heather Mills Marriage in the St.Salvator's Church. After this (Read Below) guests flooded the Estate and Pay rates were going through the roof. The Money was used to Make the refurbishment that they planned some 3 years ago.
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 sub-ground floor bedrooms being added to the castle, including the Desmond Leslie room, the Agnes Bernelle Room, the Helen Strong 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 Jack 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 Jack Leslie and Baron Oranmore and Browne, and attended by a number of ambassadors and dignitaries, including HRH The Duke of Gloucester.
Throughout the years many a famous face has frequented the house including Irish poet WB Yeats, Irish statesman General Michael Collins, Rolling Stones frontman Sir Mick Jagger, British astronomer Sir Patrick Moore and the Duc de Valentinois, 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 RTE'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.