The royal origins of Glaslough

The story of the illustrious Leslie family, owners of the beautiful Glaslough Estate, goes back a thousand years to when a young Hungarian nobleman called Bartholomew Leslie was chamberlain to Margaret, Queen of Scotland. One day, as they crossed a swollen river on horseback, the Queen’s horse stumbled. “Will my buckle hold?” the terrified Queen cried. ‘Grip fast’, Bartholomew shouted and so she did. From that time the dynasty Bartholomew founded (he had the good sense to marry the Queen’s sister) had three buckles on their coat of arms.

Now move forward to the 1600s and John Leslie, known as ‘the fighting bishop’, buys the land around beautiful Glaslough, extending the castle and building St Salvator’s Church. Over many generations, the colourful Leslie clan throw up several famous diplomats, writers and soldiers.

Today, Castle Leslie is still a family home. It is also a hotel and spa, becoming world famous as the venue for Beatle Paul McCartney’s wedding to Heather Mills, one of Ireland’s greatest social occasions.

You can wander the beautiful grounds, visiting charming St Salvator’s, where Paul McCartney and Heather Mills took their vows, the delightful hunting lodge, the walled garden and magical green lake, not to mention the picturesque castle itself. Nearby is the ancient Donagh graveyard.

But what of the timeless village that grew up alongside the castle? One of Ireland’s hidden gems; it is full of characters and stories of its own. Settle into the Coach House pub and listen to the anecdotes of village life. Inspect the Leslie Monument, erected by tenants of the estate after Charles Leslie had eased them through the ravages of the Great Famine. Then there’s the lion’s head on the old water pump on Barrack Hill and many other delights. Each one is a story in itself.

In Ireland’s Ancient East, stories emerge from every landscape.

One Village, Two Voices

Take a walk through Glaslough village and hear us tell you the stories of the Leslie family and the village community and the way the two have been closely linked for over 350 years.
Starting beside the Famine Monument and finishing at Saint Salvator’s Church the trail follows a route of 2 kilometres, open for all to enjoy, around the village and into the Castle Leslie estate.
The trail reveals many stories of time past and present, telling us why railways were once the life of rural communities, how superstition once influenced burial practices and explaining Glaslough’s past role as a centre of agricultural innovation and market town. It also describes the differences between life upstairs and downstairs in a great house, and discusses some of the colourful characters who have stayed in Glaslough over the years.
This easy to follow trail through the village of Glaslough is part of Ireland’s Ancient East, a network of stories in the landscape stretching back 5,000 years.

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