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Castles of Ireland
Malahide Castle, Co. Dublin

Malahide Castle, Co. Dublin Malahide is said to be the oldest castle continuously inhabited by the same family. Until 1976, apart from a period when they were evicted by Cromwell, there were Talbots in residence at Malahide. Legend insists that 14 Talbot cousins breakfasted at the castle before riding out to the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, never to return. Many family portraits hang in the medieval Great Hall. Malahide Castle, set on 250 acres of park land in the pretty seaside town of Malahide, was both a fortress and a private home for nearly eight hundred years, and is an interesting hotch?potch of architectural styles. The Talbot family lived here from 1185 to 1973, when the last Lord Talbot died. The house is furnished with beautiful period furniture together with an extensive collection of Irish portrait paintings, mainly from the National Gallery. The history of the Talbot family is recorded in the Great Hall, with portraits of generations of the family telling their own story of Ireland's stormy history. One of the more poignant legends concerns the morning of the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, when fourteen members of the family breakfasted together in this room, never to return, as all were dead by nightfall. Many additions and alterations have been made to this romantic and beautiful structure, but the contours of the surrounding parklands have changed little in eight hundred years, retaining a sense of the past. The grounds are also open to the public, and appeal to all visitors, young and old.

Markree Castle, Co. Sligo

Markree Castle, Co. Sligo Regarded as one of Ireland's major architectural , masterpieces, Markree Castle is Sligo's oldest inhabited castle. It has been the home of the Cooper family since 1640, but over the years the house has undergone a number of transformations.

Today, the castle retains its family atmosphere and the character of the old building, while providing every modern comfort., The interior boasts a spectacular oak staircase. This is overlooked by a stained glass window, purportedly tracing the Cooper family tree back to the time of King John of England.

There are a variety of notable reception rooms, in addition to the interconnecting dining rooms which feature Louis-Philippe style plasterwork created by Italian craftsmen in 1845.

The bedrooms vary in character and style, but all offer views over the gardens or surrounding countryside., Markree is in the heart of -Yeats Country', with , magnificent scenery all around. The Rosses Point golf course and the Strandhill course are within a few miles. Trout and salmon fishing can be arranged nearby., Places of interest nearby: Carrowmore, which has Europe's largest and oldest collection of megalithic remains; Lissadell House; Yeats's grave at Drumcliffe; and the town of Donegal. Directions: Nine miles from Sligo , airport, 125 from Dublin via N4. Collooney is just south of Sligo town.