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Luttrellstown Castle, dating from the early 15th century (c. 1420), is located in Clonsilla on the outskirts of Dublin, Ireland. It has been owned variously by the eponymous and notorious Luttrell family, by the bookseller Luke White and his descendants Baron Annaly, by the Guinness family, the Primwest Group, and since 2006, by JP McManus, John Magnier and Aidan Brooks.
The castle has hosted visits by Queen Victoria in 1844 and 1900, and its media profile was raised when Victoria Adams married David Beckham there on 4 July 1999. Luttrellstown and its remaining 560-acre (2.3 km2) demesne currently form a 5-star resort, with a golf course, country club and unique location just outside the city boundaries of Dublin.
The Luttrell family
The Luttrell family had held Luttrellstown since the land there had been granted to Sir Geoffrey de Luterel in about 1210 by King John. Sir Geoffrey served as King John's minister on many missions of state to Ireland from 1204 to 1216, and was the ancestor of the Luttrells of Dunster Castle in Somersetshire, England. The family became the biggest landowners in the district by the 17th century. Robert Luttrell was treasurer of St Patrick's Cathedral and Lord Chancellor of Ireland from 1235 to 1246, and married into the Plunkett family.
The castle was started by Sir Geoffrey Luttrell, the 5th Lord Luttrell, who was born about 1385. Sir Thomas Luttrell was Chief Justice of the Irish Common Pleas, 1534-1554, and actively involved in the dissolution of the monasteries. He acquired the lands of St Mary's Abbey at Coolmine.
Colonel Henry Luttrell, (born about 1655, died 22 October 1717), the second son of Thomas Luttrell of Luttrellstown, was an Anglo-Irish soldier. He was suspected of betraying the Irish leader Patrick Sarsfield, either by his precipitate withdrawal of his Jacobite troops, and/or by giving the army of William III strategic information about a ford of a river, leading to the loss of the Battle of Aughrim in 1691. After the Siege of Limerick, Luttrell brought his regiment into the Williamite cause, for which he received the forfeited estates of his elder brother, Simon Luttrell, including Luttrellstown, and was made a major general in the Dutch army. He was assassinated in his sedan chair outside his town house in Wolfstone Street, Dublin, in 1717.
Colonel Simon Luttrell, 1st Earl of Carhampton (1713–14 January 1787), was an Irish nobleman who became a politician at Westminster. He was the second son of Colonel Henry Luttrell of Luttrellstown and became Lord Lieutenant of County Dublin.
Henry Lawes Luttrell, 2nd Earl of Carhampton (born 1743, died 1821) was the son of Simon, 6th Lord Luttrell of Luttrellstown. He served as a Member of Parliament for Bossiney in 1768, and subsequently was Adjutant General of Ireland, where he became notorious for his role in suppressing the Irish Rebellion of 1798. He was so hated that he sold Luttrellstown Castle in 1800, but in a revenge attack the grave of his grandfather Colonel Henry Luttrell (died 1717) was opened and the skull smashed. His 'popularity' in Ireland is encapsulated by an incident in which the Dublin Post of 2 May 1811 reported his death. Luttrell demanded a retraction, which the newspaper printed, but it appeared under the headline Public Disappointment . Luttrell was an absentee landlord who also owned an estate in the West Indies but resided at Painshill Park in Surrey, England.
Henry Lawes Luttrell sold Luttrellstown to publisher Luke White, described as one of the most remarkable men that Ireland produced and ancestor of Lord Annaly. Luke White changed the name to Woodlands to eradicate the name of Luttrell, but his great grandson, 3rd Lord Annaly, reverted it to Luttrell Castle.
In 1778 Luke White started as an impecunious book dealer, buying in Dublin and reselling around the country. By 1798, during the rebellion, he helped the Irish government with a loan of 1 million pounds (at £65 per £100 share at 5%). He became M.P. for Leitrim, and died in 1824 leaving properties worth £175,000 per annum.
Eventually the estate devolved to his fourth son who was created Lord Annaly, peer of the United Kingdom.
Visits by Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria first visited Luttrellstown in 1844 en route to the Duke of Leinster at Carton House. In 1900, en route to the Viceregal Lodge she drank a cup of tea near the waterfall, an event commemorated by Lord Annaly with an obelisk made of six granite blocks from the Dublin mountains.
In 1927 the estate was bought by Ernest Guinness, as a wedding present for his daughter, Aileen Guinness, who married a cousin, Brinsley Sheridan Plunket. Aileen Plunket entertained on a grand scale. The castle became the site of hunt balls and other lavish social events. Her niece, Lady Caroline Blackwood wrote of growing up in that atmosphere in her book, Great Granny Webster.
In 1983 it was sold to the private Swiss consortium Primwest, and in 2006, it was bought by JP McManus, John Magnier and Aidan Brooks. In 2007, more than €20 million was spent on major upgrade work, including improvements to the Steel- and Mackenzie-designed championship golf course and the "alpine style" clubhouse. But late in 2008, it was announced that with under 400 members, the golf course and club would close at the end of 2009. No intention to close the hotel or sell the estate were announced. Golf club members, who said they had been given assurances about the club facilities and continuity, were reported to be "extremely angry and disappointed." The club did not close in 2009 and remains open to date.
References and footnotes
- Lacey, Jim. "Candle in the Window: A History of the Barony of Castleknock, Mercier Press, 2007, ISBN 9781856355520
- Connolly, S. J., Divided Kingdom : Ireland 1630-1800, OUP Oxford, 2008, ISBN 9780191562433
- MacCarthy, Fiona. Last Curtsey: The End of the Debutantes, Faber & Faber, 2011, ISBN 9780571265817
- Schoenberger, Nancy. Dangerous Muse: The Life of Lady Caroline Blackwood, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2012, ISBN 9780307822352
- Kelly, Liam (November 17, 2010). "Coghlan vows to put Luttrellstown back on course - Golf, Sport - Independent.ie". Irish Independent. Retrieved 29 April 2012.