Featured image of Markree Castle

Markree Castle- History, Architecture, Wedding & Facts

The imposing structure of Markree Castle was built in 1802 by the first Earl of Sligo as his family’s new ancestral home. The castle is situated on a hilltop overlooking the picturesque village of Collooney in County Sligo, Ireland. It is surrounded by a beautiful parkland designed by the famous landscape architect William Robinson. 

LocationClooneenroe, Collooney, Co. Sligo, Republic of Ireland (Google Map Location)
Open for VisitorsYes
Owned byCorscadden family
Official WebsiteMarkree Castle
Rooms AvailableYes (Wedding, Events, Filming)

Whether you’re an architecture enthusiast, want a royal Markree wedding, or enjoy exploring beautiful buildings, Markree Castle is definitely worth visiting.

Markree Castle History

Markree Castle 1993
Markree Castle 1993, by Joergsam, is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Markree Castle has been in the hands of the Cooper family since 1642. The present castle dates from 1830, when Colonel Edward Joshua Cooper, the great great grandfather of the present owner, transformed it from a Tudor hunting lodge into a Gothic folly.

The castle is set in 500 acres of gardens and parkland and overlooks the beautiful Collooney valley in County Sligo, Ireland. It has been described as one of the most beautiful and vibrant places in Ireland and is a very popular venue for weddings.

The Markree castle’s history is long and rich, dating back to the 12th century when it was first built as a hunting lodge by Hugh de Lacy, Lord of Meath. In 1565, Markree was taken over by Sir Francis Drake during his famous expedition to Ireland. The castle later became a barracks for English troops during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland in the 17th century.

In 1642, Colonel Edward Joshua Cooper acquired Markree Castle, which has remained in his family ever since. The Coopers are one of only three families who have owned the castle since it was first built over 800 years ago.

Markree Castle Architecture

Markree Castle is a stunning example of 19th-century Gothic Revival architecture. This imposing structure was built in 1802 by the first Earl of Sligo as his family’s new ancestral home.

Inside Markree Castle

Markree Castle is a historic architectural wonder. The main hall is two stories high, with a grand staircase and gallery overlooking the entrance. There are three drawing rooms, each with a different purpose – one for entertaining guests, one for family use, and one for reading and relaxing. The library is full of beautiful books and is said to be one of the finest in Ireland. The castle also has an impressive art collection, including paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck, and Gainsborough.

Markree Castle Dining Room by KHoffmanDC, is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The castle is built in the Gothic Revival style and is considered one of Wyatt’s finest works. It has been described as “a tour de force of neo-Gothic design.” As you enter the castle, you are greeted by a large, imposing staircase. This is just a taste of the grandeur that awaits you inside. The castle has many large and formal rooms, including a dining room that can seat up to 60 people, a library, and a music room. But there are also more intimate spaces, like the breakfast room where the family would gather each morning. You can almost imagine the lively conversations that took place around this table.

Markree Castle windows
Markree Castle windows by Justin Mason, is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Markree Castle Wedding

Markree Castle is the perfect venue for a wedding. It is set in 300 acres of stunning gardens and parklands, which provide the perfect backdrop for wedding photographs. The luxurious accommodations at Markree Castle wedding can accommodate up to 200 guests, making it an ideal venue for both large and small weddings.

The castle has several reception rooms that cater to weddings of all sizes. The Orangery, with its high ceilings and French doors leading out to the terrace, is popular for smaller, more intimate weddings. At the same time, the grandeur of the Great Hall, with its magnificent fireplace, is perfect for larger weddings. 

Markree Castle also has several smaller rooms which can be used for drinks receptions or as dressing rooms on your big day. And, if you’re looking for somewhere genuinely unique to hold your wedding ceremony, then the castle’s Victorian Gothic chapel is a perfect choice. 

Markree Castle Facts

The Ghost

The most famous ghost in Markree Castle’s history conspiracy is that of Colonel Sharp. It is said that he haunts the Turnpike Staircase and that his footsteps can be heard going up and down the stairs. He was a cruel landlord and is said to have been responsible for the death of his tenants during the famine. 

The Library

It is one of Ireland’s largest private libraries. It contains over 30,000 books, many of them rare and valuable. The castle also has a huge collection of historical documents, including the original deed of sale for the castle.

The Observatory 

The observatory is home to a 0.40-meter (16 in) telescope built in 1858 by Andrew Ainslie Common and is one of the largest refracting telescopes in private hands.

Film Location

The castle has been used as a filming location for many movies and TV shows, such as The Quiet Man, Ulysses, and Game of Thrones. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Who owns Markree Castle?

Markree Castle was used as a hotel by Charles and Mary Cooper, the 10th generation of the family to live there. After 400 years, in 2015, it finally changed its owners and is now operated by the Corscadden family.

How much does it cost to stay at Markree Castle?

The rates for accommodation at Markree Castle vary depending on the time of year and the type of room you book. However, you can expect to pay around €200 per night for a double room during peak season.

Have you visited this castle before? If yes, why not share some beautiful pictures with us!
You can email us your pictures of the castle at castrumtocastle@gmail.com. Please use the name of the castle in the subject line.
Also, don’t forget to mention your name and social media profile link if you want the credits!

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Meet Saurabh Sharma, a tech pro with a master's from Latvia's Riga Technical University. He's great with computers, focusing on Cloud Computing and DevOps. But here's the cool part – Saurabh has traveled to places like Nordic, Baltic, and other parts of Europe. And guess what? He's into European history, monuments, castles, and museums. Whether he's coding or exploring, he's always curious, showing a love for different places and histories.

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