May 2007 - Donegal Ireland
We are in Ireland this week so I have prepared some posts as I am not sure when or where I will get time to post.
This is from our last visit to Ireland in 2007. We went to Glenveagh National Park on a gorgeous spring day.
The castle was built between 1870 and1873 and consists of a four storey rectangular keep surrounded by a garden, and has a backdrop of some 165.4 km² (40,873 acres) of mountains, lakes, glens and woods complete with a herd of red deer.
The castle was built by Captain John George Adair, a native of Co Leix, and a member of the minor gentry. Adair had made his fortune by chancy land speculation in the United States, and he returned to Ireland and bought up vast tracts of land in Donegal. Adair had married in 1869, Cornelia Wadsworth Ritchie, a daughter of James S. Wadsworth, a Union General in the American Civil War. Together they set about the creation of the Gardens and Castle. Adair's ambition was to create an estate and castle that surpassed Balmoral, Queen Victoria's Scottish retreat. John Adair is remembered with scant affection in Donegal. On the heels of the Great Irish Famine and emigration on a par with the Highland Clearances, John Adair evicted 224 tenants from their blackhouses on his land. This was not for financial gain, but merely to improve the æsthetic aspect from the castle. These tenant clearances are known as the "Derryveagh Evictions". The name of John George Adair as a Donegal landlord has passed into history and folklore, ballad and documentary. All have one thing in common - Adair was notoriously cruel. He purchased Glenveagh and Gartan in 1859 making an estate of 28,000 acres.
The gardens and castle were left to the Irish nation in 1981 by Henry Plumer McIlhenny of Philadelphia, who had purchased the estate in 1937. Hollywood stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Charlie Chaplin and Greta Garbo vacationed at the castle whilst McIlhenny owned it. The Irish Gleann Bheatha (Bheithe) translates into English as "Glen of the Birch Trees".