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Belleek Castle

Belleek Castle

West Ireland | County Mayo

Belleek Castle is located on the outskirts of the town of Ballina in County Mayo (about 2 km north of town center). It was built by Sir Arthur Francis Knox-Gore (designed by Irish architect John B.Keanes), between 1825 and 1831, on the site of a medieval abbey, one of four along the River Moy. The Knox-Gore family lived in Belleek Castle until 1940's, when they sold estate to Jacob Francis Beckett. He began to restore the castle and also planned to establish a stud farm and to build a racecourse but he died before he finished his project, and the Beckett family sold the castle to Mayo County Council, and the most of the land to the Department of Forestry and the Land Commission. In the 1950's Belleek Castle was used as a sanatorium for patients who were suffering from tuberculosis. When the maintenance of the castle proved too much for the Mayo County Council, they decided to remove the roof of the building to avoid tax levies. Fortunately, before it happened, Belleek Castle was purchased in 1961 by Marshall Doran, retired merchant navy officer, adventurer and keen antiquarian. He was also a handyman and talented craftsman. He began to restore and redecorate the castle using his antiquities and other goods collected during his voyages. For example, building the Belleek Castle "Armada Bar" he used salvaged timber from Spanish shipwreck which sank in Killala Bay in the 16th century. The most of the castle's interior design has a medieval and navy style but some of the rooms stayed in 19th century fashion. In 1970, Belleek Castle was opened as hotel and works until today. Now, the hotel belongs to Mayo Trust and is managed by Marshall's son Paul and his partner, Maya. The Belleek Castle guided tour explains its history and reveals many interesting facts about its owners, but the highlight is The Marshall Doran Collection, one of the finest private collection of fossils, medieval armour and weaponry. Amongst the exhibits there is also original bed of Irish Pirate Queen, Granuaile O'Malley. The castle is situated in mature woodlands, ideal for walking or cycling, and the Jack Fenn Courtyard Cafe offers tea, coffee and delicious refreshments. Belleek Castle is also home to the awards winning "Library Restaurant", which offers delicious meals made of local ingredients.

    • Grounds:
      • May - Sep: 11am-4pm
      • Oct - Apr: 2pm-4pm
    • Guided tours:
      • Daily 11am, 2pm & 4pm
    • Adult: €10
    • Child: €7.50
    • Family: €30
  • CAR PARK :
    • Yes

Photos from Belleek Castle