near Losset, County Donegal, Ireland
Glenveagh Castle is located 15 miles north west of Letterkenny in the Glenveagh National Park. The park covers 16,000 acres in the Derryveach mountain range on the shores of Lough Veagh.
The castle site consists of a 19th Century Scottish baronial mansion house built of granite with a four storey keep. It is surrounded by gardens which reach out to the wooded hillside beyond with its own herd of red deer.
There are two main attractions for visitors to Glenveagh Castle. The first being the way in which the castle is furnished. The last owner Henry McIlhenny was the Curator of Decorative Arts at the Philadelphia Museum. He furnished each of the rooms with very different characters, some in the period of the castle, others from different periods.
The second attraction are the gardens. The gardens were also designed by Henry McIlhenny and developed from 1937 until 1983. The gardens hold a collection of plants from all over the world which were planted under the advice of leading landscape artists James Russell and Lanning Roper. There is an 18 stop garden tour showing some of the most beautiful parts. The gardens are especially spectacular for the rhododendrons in May and June and the walled garden in August.
The rooms of the castle can be visited with a guide between Mid March and Early November, 10am to 6pm. The castle also has its own tearooms.
The first part of Glenveagh Castle was built in 1867 with additions being made until 1885 by Captain John Adair. He was married in 1869 and along with his wife tried to create a castle and gardens to better those belonging to Queen Victoria at Balmoral Castle.
During that time Adair was also responsible for evicting 224 tenants from his land, a job which involved 200 police officers, the local magistrate and the sub sheriff. Many of those evicted went to the work house in Letterkenny and some were helped to emigrate to Australia by the Donegal Relief Fund and were settled in Sydney.
Henry Plumer McIlhenny from Philadelphia purchased the estate in 1937 and had plenty of interesting guests amongst them Greta Garbo and Marilyn Monroe. He finally left the castle and gardens to the nation in 1981 and now it is in the care of the Office of Public Works.
Other Castles in the Area
Bishops Palace, County Donegal
Doe Castle, County Donegal
Raphoe Castle, County Donegal