Castle Leslie Estate

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When we think of Ireland’s greatest and historic country house estates, Castle Leslie Estate in Co Monaghan will always come to mind. Set within 1000 acres of verdant rolling green hills and forests, Castle Leslie Estate is that rare entity in Irish history and culture that is still owned and operated by its founding family, the Leslie family from which it gets its name. The Leslie family arrived in Ireland in the 17th century and immediately purchased the Castle Leslie Estate. Sammy Leslie is the current custodian of Castle Leslie Estate with a goal to preserve the Estate for future generations. Over the past 30 years, Castle Leslie Estate has undergone a massive transformation in which its historic doors have been opened wide for visitors to come experience first-hand the beauty and uniqueness of country house living. With 95 bedrooms across The Castle, The Lodge and Old Stable Mews, fabulous dining spaces, equestrian centre, and a host of activities including falconry, fishing, boating, clay target shooting, archery, spa treatments, and walking trails, Castle Leslie Estate offers that cherished escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

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Dining at Castle Leslie Estate is a pure delight and is a key focus for The Estate’s day-to-day operations. The food and drink offering at Castle Leslie Estate is firmly rooted in the local and authentic take on classic Irish country house cooking.


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Residents and visitors are invited to enjoy the wares of the famous Snaffles Restaurant for fine dining while Conor’s Bar & Lounge provides customers with that great casual dining offering that so resembles a lovely country Irish Pub.


No visit to Castle Leslie Estate would be complete without experiencing their enchanting Afternoon Tea. Place yourself into the grandeur of times past with family and friends while you enjoy a sample of delicious Afternoon Tea delicacies from the culinary team at Castle Leslie Estate.


Snaffles Restaurant is the main dining space at Castle Leslie Estate. Decorated in rich earthy tones, you’ll notice the restaurant is dotted with charming equestrian motifs which once again pay a loving tribute to Castle Leslie Estate’s history as a centre of equestrian excellence. These motifs are found in the fabric of dining benches and even in a centre piece art installation which depicts the bust of a horse.


This tribute to place and authenticity is keenly felt in the dining experience at Snaffles Restaurant. An extensive menu features an array of high-quality locally sourced ingredients that are transformed into magic on a plate. From a Hay Smoked Salmon to Slow Cooked Pork Belly and a Butter Poached Cod, the menu showcases a number of exciting culinary techniques to best reflect the quality of the main ingredient.


For the starter, we sampled a lovely Cauliflower soup. Refreshingly simplistic, the cauliflower was complemented in taste with parmesan and truffle that helped the flavours come to life.


We followed this with a delectable Roast Estate Venison, that gave us a fabulous taste of place. The venison was cooked to perfection and lovely seasonal vegetables of swede and parsnip were the perfect addition to the dish, leaving us well satisfied.


After the delicacies that preceded, there is a great selection of desserts if you are craving something sweet. A decadent Belgian Chocolate Torte was on the menu when we dined at Snaffles Restaurant, just the thing to enjoy if you’re a chocolate lover. For something lighter, the Panna Cotta featured Vanilla and Coconut. The perfect blend of flavour to round off a fabulous meal.


Another exciting element to dining at Snaffles is the presentation of small desserts or sweets at the end of the menu. Here a member of the waiting staff presents to you a selection of delicate desserts and sweets within a box for you to choose from. There really is a lovely presentation and care taken in being served by the team at Snaffles Restaurant.


The importance of local food & drink is very much apparent on the Snaffles Menu. A whole page is dedicated to listing their suppliers so that diners are left with no doubt of where the ingredients have been sourced from. This also pays tribute to those producers, farmers and fishermen and gives them recognition in the quality food they produce.


An extensive wine and drinks menu is also available. For wine lovers, the in-house sommelier lists their choice of wines while your server will also happily advise you. Interestingly, there’s an option of an Irish Wine, produced in Co. Wexford. Moreover, in keeping with the local ethos, you’ll find a great selection of artisan beers, ciders and spirits on the menu. Even more, the drinks menu also features a dedicated section for Co. Monaghan produced craft beers. Now that is a great taste of the locality!



Rooms & Facilities

Castle Leslie Estate encompasses luxurious and comfortable accommodation, 1000 acres of woodlands to explore, beautiful scenery for a Castle Wedding along with numerous fun filled activities to enjoy on-site.

At Castle Leslie Estate they have three accommodation offerings for you to enjoy. These include The Lodge, The Castle and The Old Stable Mews. When we stayed we had the pleasure of staying at The Lodge. The Lodge has been designed in keeping with the whole feel of Castle Leslie Estate. Warm earthy tones are apparent throughout The Lodge. Moreover, you’ll see plenty of charming Equestrian motifs along with other depictions of rural life. Every little detail has been lovingly thought out. Even the pavements are embedded with horseshoes, in reference to the Equestrian Centre located adjacent to The Lodge.


When we arrived for our stay we were warmly welcomed with a refreshing drink before we checked in. On the journey to our room, it was lovely to see bright and vibrant art on the walls which depicted rural scenes. The artworks were created by local Irish artists once again reinforcing that feeling of place and authenticity.


Our room, similar to the rest of The Lodge was spacious and decorated in warm inviting colours that immediately make you feel at ease and invite you to relax in the comforting luxury of The Lodge.


Similar to many hotels, Castle Leslie Estate provides a tea service in your room but they go the extra mile with a charming selection of vibrant and beautiful floral tea cups and caddy. Something that would be seen in many rural homes across Ireland. It really makes you feel at home.


After a lovely and restful night’s sleep, you have a fabulous Irish breakfast to look forward to. Breakfast is served each morning in Snaffles Restaurant and it is a treat to behold. Once again you’ll witness the dedication to local with the breakfast offering. Ingredients are sourced from local and regional artisan producers and suppliers. You’ll get a chance to sample some Irish yogurts along with delicious fresh breads and pastries produced in-house by the culinary team. You may also notice that yogurts and cereals are displayed in beautiful Irish pottery bowls.


The breakfast menu also features an exciting selection of hot food made to order which of course features a traditional full Irish breakfast.



At Castle Leslie Estate, they believe that sustainable tourism is tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social, and environmental impacts while addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities (UNWTO, n.d.). They therefore aim to reduce their negative effects and increase their positive impacts. They strive to protect and enhance the environment and wildlife within the estate wall while retaining the historical home of the Leslie Family.


That their guests find a refuge there from the outside world, a tranquil timeless atmosphere, wonderful staff, exceptional food, and discernible charm. They hope that their guests leave Castle Leslie Estate relaxed with a better understanding of the importance of the survival of historical buildings such as Castle Leslie. For their staff they aim to provide a healthy, happy, working team environment without which the above cannot be achieved.


Click here to download their ‘Our Impact’ brochure and discover what Castle Leslie Estate is doing to preserve their unique part of Irish heritage for people to enjoy through innovated sustainable tourism.



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