Killeen Castle at Dunsany in County Meath offers the perfect combination of modern luxury in a historic setting. If you’re looking for an alternative wedding venue, this might just be the perfect option for you.
With a rich history dating back to the Norman Invasion and the Flight of the Earls, Killeen Castle offers you a unique opportunity to add your names to its story when you get married there. This place is steeped in history.
The Walled Garden is the perfect civil ceremony backdrop, with each parterre blossoming with wild flowers, the sound of the lively fountain and a green house filled with produce which they have incorporated into their menus
The Hunters Yard lodges and the Rose Cottage are situated within the castle demesne and adjacent to the manicured walled gardens. Six elegant lodges with four bedrooms, all of which are en-suite with double/twin beds with an additional single Bed.
Each lodge is elegantly designed with quality interior design with fixtures & fittings that are similar to a four star type hotel standard. Each lodge has a separate entrance and ample car parking is available.
There are delectable packages available to you starting from €90 per person. The choice for each course of your meal is incredible, irrespective of whether you choose the Cusack or De Lacy options. There’s a wide variety of canapes and drinks reception choices available, and for evening fare, you can have pizzas . There is a stunning veranda overlooking the golf course.
Situated on a 600-acre demesne overlooked by the Hill of Tara, the ancient seat of the High Kings of Ireland, Killeen Castle has a fascinating history. The original castle was built in 1181 by Geoffrey de Cusack, an Anglo Norman who came to Ireland with Hugh de Lacy, the 1st Lord of Meath, to provide strategic defence for the province of Leinster. It was home to The Cusacks until 1403, when Sir Christopher Plunkett married Lady Joan de Cusack. The Plunketts became Earls of Fingall, the most successful Catholic Anglo Norman family in Ireland, and remained at the castle until the 1950s.
In the 1800s, the Plunkett family engaged Architects James Sheil and Francis Johnson to redesign the castle to the format you see today. It is reportedly modelled on Windsor Castle in the UK. It was sold in 1951 to Sir Victor Sassoon, and the estate was run as a stud farm. In 1966, Killeen Castle gained a touch of Hollywood glamour when John Huston’s Casino Royale, based on the book from the James Bond series by Ian Fleming, was partly filmed there. The building was Castle McTarry, ancestral home to M, aka Laird McTarry, and Deborah Kerr played the leading role opposite the Bond character, with John Huston himself playing M.
Sir Victor Sassoon died just ten years after purchasing the castle, and it was subsequently bought by French racehorse owner Daniel Wildenstein, who ran the stud farm until 1978. It was sold again, this time to advertiser Basil Brindley. However, shockingly in 1981, the castle was burned to the ground in a Republican arson attack and lay in ruins until 1997.
Built by the aforementioned Sir Christopher Plunkett, the remains of a church and churchyard can be seen to the side of the castle (sometimes referred to as the Abbey). It is Gothic in architecture and preserved as a national monument.
There is also Our Lady’s Well located at the lake near the driveway, and legend has it that there are underground tunnels leading to the graveyard and to the Hill at Tara. It’s brimming with natural beauty with woodland trails and a lake with swans.
In 2008, the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course and Clubhouse opened at Killeen Castle, which went on to host the Solheim Cup (USA vs Europe in Women’s Golf) in 2011. It also hosted the Ladies Irish Open and the Ladies European Tour. This year, the course was designated an “outstanding” status by Leading Courses, the largest European golf course comparison platform. The 2023 Irish Golfer Top 100 Courses in Ireland ranked the course at number 28.
If spectacular countryside is your thing or walled gardens, greenhouses, and church ruins capture the imagination, then Killeen Castle and its grounds must be considered.