Only two years ago, it stood as an imposing derelict, long neglected, weary from years of battling the elements. But today, the derelict is no more. With renovation and restoration, it has been rejuvenated and shines as a decorator showpiece.
The Baronial Hall, a magnificent testimony to the powers of restoration, boasts 20-foot ceilings with four-foot surrounds of hand carved marble mouldings. Four handcast gilded chandeliers are suspended above luxurious seating areas. Plush velvet draperies cascade beside three sets of 16-foot windows, allowing a brilliance of light forever illuminating the rich hardwood floors covered with several patterned area rugs. Near one set of windows sits a grand piano polished to a gleaming shine, while adjacent to it is a showpiece feature: the original black marble fireplace centerpieced by a white marble bust of Queen Victoria. Rising above is a magnificent archway rendered in ornately carved white marble, every inch an intricate handworked masterpiece. Bas-relief carvings of a shepherd boy poised beside the swirling tail of a fish; an angry goose, its beak open, hissing to warn away a pan-like creature; pheasants, grape leaves, pomegranates, coats of arms, sunflowers, roses: all a swirl of magical artistry.
Each piece of furniture, so carefully chosen, is a hand carved work of art, each painting, a masterpiece. Skill and artistry, evident wherever a visitor casts a glance, shows an almost magical presence in the combining of carpet, fabric, and wallpaper. A designer's paradise, the elegant beauty of the Hall is simply breath-taking. No one, including the present Queen, could be surrounded by more opulent splendour than is found at Lough Rynn Castle. Priceless antiques and statuary, including museum quality bronzes (some original to the house) gathered from around the world create a Hall worthy of any "royal" visitor.
A tour of the grand estate house includes another inspiring interior: the Library, a perfect infusion of deep reds and brilliant golds dedicated in 2006 to author John McGahern by Taoiseach Bertie Allen. Novelist McGahern, who grew up in Leitrim, is considered one of Ireland's most important authors. The sumptuous library includes original copies of the novel, The Dark (banned by the Irish Board of Censorship) and a copy of Memoir (only 250 of which were printed for sale).
Handpainted wallpaper, plush patterned carpet, handcarved gilded valence atop dotted brocade draperies, and floor to ceiling handcarved bookcases complete the elegance of this dramatic chamber.
Originally envisioned for the exclusive pleasure of Royalty along the shores of Lough Rynn, the Castle is idyllic, rich in history, and charmed with elegant beauty...truly a place of dreams.
Open all year to the public. No admission charge. Tours available by advance arrangement. Formal afternoon high tea menu (€10).
How to get there:
From Dublin, N4 to Dromod. At Dromod, right on R202 to Mohill. Follow signs east of town on Drumlish Road to Lough Rynn Estate.
Lough Rynn Castle Estate
Mohill, Co. Leitrim
T: 071 9632700
Written by Joy Davis - Summer of Travel 2007