Tuesday 24 October 2017

Connect to Cuchulainn's lore

The venerable Smarmore Castle near Ardee is already a successful upmarket guesthouse, writes Caitriona Murphy

Smarmore Castle in Co Louth has its own place in Irish history, as it's built on the site where the legendary Cuchulainn prepared a bath of marrow to heal the wounds of his warrior friend Cethern, who was injured in the Cattle Raid of Cooley.

Located just 6km from Ardee and 10 minutes' drive from the M1 motorway, Smarmore is one of Ireland's longest continuously inhabited castles and is divided into three distinct parts. Dating back to 1320, the castle tower and keep are the oldest part of the castle, while the two wings on either side were built around 1720 and 1760 respectively.

The castle was the seat of the Taaffe family from 1320 to the mid-1980s and is currently owned by the Mullen family. The Mullens have run the 557sqm (6,000 sq ft) castle as a successful upmarket guesthouse and added a leisure centre and restaurant to the grounds.

The main residence opens with a stone-flagged entrance hall, leading to a breakfast room, a sitting room that opens out into the garden, a fully fitted kitchen, utility room, linen cupboard and small wine cellar.

The main drawing room, located on the first floor of the castle, is known as the Blue Room. Moving up another level, the master bedroom suite includes a fireplace, dressing room and en suite bathroom.

Within the tower, the reception room is a large stone-and-brick room with open fireplace and a raised window seat. This leads up into a small tower/turret room.

Each of Smarmore's six guest bedrooms are known by historical names. The Knight's Room is located on the first floor of the tower and is in a medieval style with a large, brass bed and a private sitting area in the turret, as well as an en suite shower room.

The Viscount's Room has walls over six feet thick and features a high ceiling, large four-poster bed, private sitting area in the turret and an en suite shower room.

The Count's Room is a family suite that can accommodate up to four people in two rooms that share a shower room.

The Taaffe's Room is a classic country house bedroom, with tall windows and authentic shutters and an en-suite bathroom.

The second floor contains the Sheriff's Room, with en suite, and the largest bedroom in the castle, the Earl's Room (also en suite). This room is an unusual shape, with the ceiling following the contours of the roof and views of the front lawn and the courtyard.

Outside, the 18th century courtyard features a leisure club that includes a 22m x 7m indoor heated swimming pool, steam room, sauna, Jacuzzi and children's pool, as well as a gym, toilets and changing rooms.

The 140sqm (1,500 sq ft.) restaurant is currently let out on a short-term lease and the courtyard also includes six stables, a tack room and three rooms suitable for office use.

Smarmore Castle is set on almost 15 acres of grounds that are dotted with specimen trees and wooded pathways.

Enquiries to Savills on 01 6634358

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