Photos courtesy of Markree Castle
Double rooms: 79-144 euros
Open: Spring through fall. Open in winter for weddings only.
Collooney is about 10 km south of Sligo on N4. The road to the castle is on the south side of town and is signposted. The castle gate is about 1 km. farther.
On site: horseback riding
center with cross-country
Nearby: trout and salmon fishing; golf; hiking; County Sligo Museum and Yeats Art Gallery in Sligo; drives through “Yeats Country”; hiking on Knocknarea.
Exclusive use of castle possible; chapel for church blessings.
Markree Castle's new owners, the Corscadden family, are presently refurbishing the castle and planning to welcome guests once again in spring of 2017. The castle will be a venue castle hotel only and not for casual guests.
Lord Clark of the television series Civilization called Markree one of Ireland’s finest castles of its age.
After driving through the arched stone gatehouse, and then on in via the narrow road leading past sheep and horses grazing on the castle’s 1000-acre estate, you confront an imposing five-story gray stone mansion. Despite its immense size, upon walking through the double wooden doors and up a stone stairway to the main hall, you feel like you’re in someone’s home.
When the weather is chilly, fires blaze in cozy lounges that include a library—which once held 50,000 books—and a sitting area, featuring old paintings of the Cooper forebears. An unusual hanging oak staircase leads from the front hall past a stained-glass window depicting the Cooper family tree back to the era of King John of England.
Guest rooms have views overlooking the garden or countryside and are decorated with rich mahogany furniture from the Victorian and Edwardian ages. Bathrooms are tiled and completely modernized.
Tower room 15 is ideal for families: Rooms are stacked on top of each other, with a perfect room for kids on the bottom, topped by a room for the parents, topped by a bath accessible by a tower stairway.
Ornate French plasterwork looks down on an elegant, highly regarded restaurant, which serves three-course table d’hôte meals.
Children will love all the nooks and crannies to explore.