Castle Leslie Estate
Follow M1/N2 to the Monaghan bypass. Do not enter town. At first R'about follow N2 to Derry. Continue on Monaghan bypass to third R'About. Exit at third exit. N12 to Armagh. Follow N12 for 2 miles, turn left at signpost for Glaslough (N185). Drive through Glaslough village to the gates of the estate.
Tracing your ancestors and Who Do You Think You are is huge business these days but most people probably can’t go back much further than their great grand parents. Imagine being able to trace your ancestors back to Attila the Hun, taking in Winston Churchill, and so along the way. Well I am referring to the Samantha Leslie of Castle Leslie in County Monaghan. The Leslie family has been in residence at Castle Leslie since the 1660’s and their lineage just groans with characters and luminaries.
Samantha is Chatelaine and keeper of the flame at Castle Leslie this magnificent house and estate, which was thrown into the public eye in a really big international way when Paul McCartney got married there. Samantha goes about running this Great House and Estate, opening it to the public in a really professional way, she is an absolutely tireless worker and conservationist who has restored Castle Leslie yet retaining its unique character and personality.
Located on 1,000 acres of undulating countryside, dotted with woodland and glittering lakes, there is just so much to do here. Whether you stay in the Castle or in The Lodge, the food is cracking, and they have been winning Awards for their efforts including RAI Best Casual Dining in Monaghan 2011 with The Lodge, and 2 AA Rosettes. You have many dining options, The Castle Dining Room, Snaffles Restaurant at The Lodge, and Conor’s Bar & Lounge at The Lodge.
Andrew Bradley, the Executive Chef at Castle Leslie, combines years of experience at Michelin starred establishments with his own creative flair. You can choose to dine in a formal or informal setting and there will be a link between the menus in that you will find the same top notch local and seasonal produce on all of the menus, the best of Donegal crab, venison from the Estate, Silverhill duck, Fermanagh pork, presented in different ways in each venue.
Starters at The Castle’s dinner menu might include a Gateau of Donegal Crab Meat with an herb salad and a citrus fruit dressing, whilst cured Organic Irish Salmon is served with a smoked salmon and scallion Brandade, and a horseradish crème fraiche. Seared scallops come with Castle Leslie black pudding mash whilst pan-fried Wood Pigeon breast is with a pearl barley risotto and Meade reduction. Mains might include rabbit cooked three ways, braised leg, roast loin, confit shoulder, carrot timbale, and a carrot butter sauce. Grilled Halibut will be with rouille potatoes and Shellfish Bouillabaisse sauce whilst a pithivier of Estate Venison comes with curly kale and rich port jus reflecting the family’s love of the South of France.
Snaffles Restaurant at The Lodge has starters, which include bread crumbed Boilie Goats cheese with ratatouille chutney with herb salad, Balsamic and Basil pesto. Tempura of Tiger Prawns are with a mango and cucumber salsa, lime and coriander crème fraiche, whilst a terrine of confit Silverhill duck is with pickled Girolles, spiced pear chutney and toasted Brioche – this is the sort of food I really love. They do a superb chargrilled fillet of Irish beef with onion puree, Bordelaise sauce, and a shallot cream. An assiette of Saddle Back Fermanagh Pork has glazed rib and rolled roast fillet served with Parmentier of Sauerkraut, black pudding and potato with an Armagh cider sauce, whilst pan fried Halibut comes with a cassoulette of mixed beans and Chorizo sausage. There is great casual food at Conor’s Bar & Lounge from freshly baked scones with Castle Leslie jam and cream to open prawn or smoked sandwiches. Sautéed crab claws in garlic butter with garlic bread and salad can be had as a starter or main course. Confit duck croquettes with toasted baguette have mixed fruit chutney to add that touch of sweetness whilst seared rose veal liver is with a devilled wild mushroom sauce on rustic bread. You can opt for something more robust if you fancy the pie of the day or and open pan-fried Irish Sirloin Steak sandwich or freshly battered plaice fillet with hand cut chips, caper and parsley Hollandaise.
There is a lot of magic at Castle Leslie…….a place apart……relax, enjoy, and have wonderful food.