Slane Castle, County Meath
Slane Castle is set in the middle of a 1,500 acre estate in the heart of the Boyne Valley and has been in the family of the Conyngham’s since 1701. Slane Castle is steeped in history and with the river Boyne flowing below the Castle, it has a mystical quality. The Hill of Slane, which overlooks the Castle, is where St. Patrick lit his paschal fire, following which he was summoned by the High King to Tara, and Ireland was subsequently converted to Christianity.
Nearby is Newgrange, one of the earliest and most significant and dramatic structures in Western Europe. The historic Battle of the Boyne was fought just downriver. The Castle itself is one of the most exciting historic buildings on the island and displays the collective talents of some of Ireland and England's most distinguished architects. The parklands were laid out by the distinguished landscape architect, Capability Brown.
The Castle was also a settling for a famous historical romance between King George IV of England and Elizabeth, the first Marchioness Conyngham. The King stayed in the Castle in 1821 and it is believed that the reason the road from Dublin to Slane is one of the straightest roads in Ireland is because it was so designed to speed him on his journey. He dined in the spectacular Gothic Revival Ballroom and the bedroom he slept in is known as the King's Room to this day.
In the last quarter of a century, music has become central to the tradition of Slane. For years it has played host to the Festival in Great Irish Houses, but it is for the fabulous open air Rock Concerts in the great natural amphitheatre below the Castle that it has become internationally renowned with acts such as U2, The rolling stones and Boy Dylan to name but a few, have all preformed at the venue.
A guided tour of the castle is recommended and Slane Castle now offers whiskey tasting tours where you can enjoy tutored tasting of a range of whiskeys and where you will get to sample its very own Slane Castle Irish Whiskey. This unique Whiskey blend has been distilled by the nearby Cooley Distillery, which won the European and World Distiller of the Year at the 2008 International Wine and Spirit Competition. It is well worth experiencing some of the magic, mysticism and romance that is part of the rich tapestry that envelopes Slane Castle.
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