If you are seeking respite from modern life and wish to brush shoulders with ghostly characters in an authentic castle, the 17th-century Castle Leslie Estate in Monaghan may be just the place for you.
The hotel is peppered with crackling fires, antique furniture, and personal artifacts from many generations of the Leslie family. The 21 bedrooms offer a mix of subtle and striking décor, each with private facilities, including one with a throne toilet and another with Ireland’s first fully plumbed bath.
Sir John Leslie completed the rebuilding of Castle Leslie following the sudden death of his brother Charles in 1871. Sir John’s wife Lady Constance was very keen to see the castle completed and the pair travelled widely to collect art and furnishings for their fabulous new abode. In 1910, the couple moved to London. On the day of her death in 1925, servants spotted the ghost of Lady Constance walking in the castle grounds.
In 1943, Lady Leonie Leslie claimed on her deathbed in the Mauve Room, that she had spoken with an old lady who had then disappeared. The visitor was also seen by her nurse, who assumed that it was just a member of the family. After her death, the family was sitting in the dining room and the nurse joined them. She remarked that the old lady she had seen in the bedroom only a few days before looked remarkably like a woman in a portrait hanging there. She was then informed that the lady in the portrait was Lady Constance and that she had died 18 years earlier.
Some report that Lady Constance still makes occasional appearances in her former home.
In October 1914, Norman Leslie was spotted walking on the castle terrace. This came as a great relief to the family and estate staff, as Norman had been fighting on the battlefields in France. But they were confused when there was no sign of him at dinner. Soon after, the shocking news arrived by telegram that Norman had been killed in battle. A few weeks later, Lady Marjorie Leslie awoke from her sleep in the Red Room, only to see Norman’s ghost looking through papers by a chest of drawers. In her dazed state, she asked him what he was doing there, in response to which he simply turned, smiled, and silently vanished.
It is claimed in some quarters that Norman likes his peace and solitude, and he is still known to “hush” guests if they make too much noise in his beloved Red Room.
In modern times, a member of the Castle Leslie hotel staff claimed to have been approached by an old man in the castle basement, only for him to disappear when the shocked employee addressed him.
We stayed in Norman’s room and may have had a visit from him in the middle of the night!!! Maybe I had too much champagne, but I thought I saw a man in the corner of our room reading a book when I woke during the night.
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