Castle Saunderson

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Castle Saunderson
Belturbet, County Cavan in Ireland
Castle Saunderson
Castle Saunderson
Area 34 acres
Site information
Owner Scouting Ireland (CSI)
Open to
the public

Castle Saunderson International Scouting Centre near Belturbet, County Cavan, Ireland, opened in 2012.[1] It is on the grounds of the castle, the family seat of the Saunderson family. The centre provides indoor accommodation and campsites covering 34 acres (14 ha). It is open to Scouts year round, as well as to non-Scouts for most of the year.


Family home[edit]

The Saunderson family acquired the original castle during the Ulster plantation. The original castle was inhabited by the O'Reillys of Breffni and formerly known as Breffni Castle since the 14th century. The present castle dating from the 1840s.[citation needed] A notable member of the family born there was Edward Saunderson, a founder of the Ulster Unionist Party.

Captain Alexander Saunderson sold the Castle in 1977 to a businessman, who planned to use it as a residence, but this never transpired. It later served as a hotel, but was damaged by fire, the third fire to occur at the Castle.

International Scout Centre[edit]

In 1997 the castle and its grounds were acquired by Scouting Ireland (CSI). The subsequent formation of Scouting Ireland and financial difficulties had delayed its development, and put the campsite project in doubt.[2] With support from the American Ireland Fund and Cavan County Council, substantial progress occurred with the announcement in November 2008 of EU funding for the project, amounting to over €3 million.[3][4][5]

Michael D Higgins, President of Ireland, opened the €3.7 million European-funded Castle Saunderson International Scouting Centre in Cavan on 18 August 2012. The President was joined by dignitaries from both sides of the Border, including Northern Ireland Executive Ministers Jonathan Bell, Nelson McCausland and Jennifer McCann and Minister of State in the Republic Fergus O’Dowd.[1]

The site delivers programme which compliments the Messenger of Peace Award.[6]

The Saunderson Castle estate, currently only 103 acres (42 ha),[citation needed] has an entrance in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. These grounds include a church and family grave yard.

In February 2015, Minister Heather Humphreys announced the approval of the restoration by Waterways Ireland of the Canal, connecting the site to the Erne basin.[7]


  1. ^ a b "Scouts' honour: President cuts ribbon at €3.7m scouts' centre". The Irish Times. 20 August 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  2. ^ "Conclusion of Castle Saunderson Project". Scouting Ireland. 2006. Archived from the original on 30 October 2007. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  3. ^ "Castle Saunderson". American Ireland Funds Golf Classic 2005. American Ireland Fund. 2005. Archived from the original on 16 February 2006. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  4. ^ "Castle Saunderson". American Ireland Funds Golf Classic 2004. American Ireland Fund. 2004. Archived from the original on 11 April 2005. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "Campsite Locator". Scouting Ireland. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  6. ^ "CASTLE SAUNDERSON PEACE AWARD". Castle Saunderson International Scout Centre. Archived from the original on 24 March 2016. 
  7. ^ "Minister Humphreys secures Government approval to restore Ulster Canal from Upper Lough Erne to Castle Saunderson" (Press release). Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. 24 February 2015. Retrieved 24 February 2015. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 54°07′30″N 7°21′07″W / 54.125°N 7.352°W / 54.125; -7.352