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Bellingham Castle is an elegant and spacious 17th Century Irish castle, set on the banks of the beautiful River Glyde. Situated in the centre of the medieval village of Castlebellingham in County Louth and accessed via a private, tree-flanked driveway, Bellingham Castle itself is the centrepiece of a spectacular 17 acre estate that includes a weir and man-made river island, beautiful formal gardens and parkland.
Bellingham Castle History
Bellingham Castle served as one of the ancestral homes for the Bellingham family from the 17th Century until the 1950s. The original castle was built around 1660 by Sir Henry Bellingham, who was a cornet in the Army during the Civil War.
He purchased the lands of Gernonstowne, Co. Louth, from a fellow soldier who had been granted them in lieu of arrears of pay. The purchase was confirmed by King Charles II.
The castle was occupied by troops and burned down in the autumn of 1689 by King James II, in revenge for Colonel Thomas Bellingham being a guide for William III, prior to the Battle of the Boyne. It is said that King William’s armies camped the night before the Battle of the Boyne in the grounds of the castle.
In time, Castlebellingham became a significant gathering point in the county. Fairs were often held there and a church was built next door to the castle, along with a cemetery that houses the Bellingham family crypt. The Bellinghams became one of the most influential and powerful families in Ireland; for over 100 years, a Bellingham held the seat in Parliament for County Louth.
Castlebellingham was the family home of the Baronetcy until the late 1950s. The last Bellingham to live there was Brigadier General Sir Edward Bellingham, born in 1879, who was the last Lord Lieutenant and Guardian of the Rolls (Custos Rotulorum).
The castle was bought by Dermot Meehan in 1958 from the Irish Land Commission for £3,065.00. Mr Meehan spent several years converting the house into a hotel. The Meehan family sold the hotel and 17 acres in 1967 for £30,636.61 to Mr John Keenan and under the Keenan family stewardship, the castle flourished over the following four decades.
In December 2012, the castle - including the 17 acres - was acquired by the Corscadden family. The family also own Ballyseede Castle in Tralee, Co. Kerry; Cabra Castle, Kingscourt, Co. Cavan, and Markree Castle, Co. Sligo.