Castle Leslie

Castle Leslie

Private castle now owned by descendants of the original Leslie clan. The castle was bought in 1655 by the Bishop of Clogher John Leslie but was added to and rebuilt in 1878.

The Leslies can trace their ancestry back to Atilla The Hun. The first Leslie came from Scotland and was a Hungarian nobleman called Bartholomew Leslie who was the chamberlain and protector of Margaret Queen Of Scotland.

The Leslie family motto is “Grip Fast” which originated from when fleeing enemies Queen Margaret rode pillion on the back of Bartholomew’s horse. When fording a river the queen fell off, Bartholomew through her the end of his belt and told her to grip fast the buckle. He saved the Queen’s life and from that day forward she bestowed this motto to them.

The first Leslie to come to Ireland was Bishop John Leslie who was Bishop of the Isles of Scotland, in the early 1600s.

The castle’s ownership was passed on down through many of the Leslie clan including John Leslie’s son John Jr, the Dean of Dromore, Charles Powell Leslie I in 1743, and his son and grandson Charles Powell Leslie II and III through until 1871. Another John Leslie (later to become Sir John Leslie 1st Baronet of Glaslough) was a fine painter of the Pre-Raphelite school and inherited the castle at that time and ran it until his death in 1944.

The castle is now owned by Samantha Leslie, daughter of Desmond, one of the few surviving war-time Spitfire pilots.

Ghost ratings:
In the Banquet Hall there is a huge presence of a spirit of a monk, very tall and is always dressed in black. He is apparently a kind spirit, who delights in some of the more joyous events that are held at the castle, and is especially fond of Con Ryan, the castle’s current owner.

The Geraldine Bedroom is where many people have told of feeling the presence of a spirit of a child, who is often heard whimpering.

Spooky experiences:
The Red Room is supposedly haunted by Norman Leslie who was killed in action in 1914 and whose mother, Lady Marjorie, awoke here one night to find his ghost standing by the chest of drawers, surrounded by a ‘cloud of light’. Norman’s spirit was leafing through some letters and seemed to be seeking one in particular. Sitting up, she asked him ‘Why Norman – what are you doing here?’ whereupon he turned to her, smiled and faded away.

The Basement was the location for a more recent haunting. An employee at the Castle was in the basement when she was apparently approached by a scary grey man – who eventually disappeared.

The apparition of a noble named Lady Constance is supposed to haunt the Mauve Bedroom. A story exists of a lady of the castle named Leonie who, on her death bed, was visited by an elderly woman who spoke to her and then left.

The sleepy nurse caring for her assumed it was one of the family members and said nothing. After the funeral, the family and the nurse were sitting in the Dining Room when nurse proclaimed that the elderly visitor looked exactly like the portrait on the wall – of Lady Constance, who had died in 1925.

First Broadcast: 21st September 2004

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