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Monday, 10 June, 2002, 13:55 GMT 14:55 UK
Wedding venue with history
Sir John Leslie (r) eats at the castle
Disco-dancing Sir John Leslie still lives at the castle
Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills are to marry on Tuesday, with the world's media attention focused on an Irish castle in a small village.

Castle Leslie, in Glaslough, Co Monaghan is the historic home of one of Ireland's most colourful families.

Supposedly descended from Attila the Hun, the Leslie family history is filled with a cast including fighting bishops, Irish nationalists, the future Duke of Wellington and the chief justice of Samoa.

The octogenarian fourth baronet Sir John Leslie, who lived in Rome for four decades before returning to live in the castle in 1994, is known in Ireland for his love of disco-dancing.

Castle Leslie
The castle offers exclusivity at an affordable price
It is currently run by niece Sammy Leslie, but has passed through the hands of equally unusual owners.

The baronet's sister Anita Leslie-King was a wartime ambulance driver and biographer, while brother Desmond was a Spitfire pilot as well as writing an early UFO study entitled Flying Saucers Have Landed.

The original castle has been in the family since 1665, and the current incarnation dates from the late Victorian period.

The village itself is steeped in history.

A local song, Beautiful Glaslough, recounts that in the village "beauty and friendship embrace one another and troubles are left behind".

Local legend also tells of a Romeo and Juliet-style story.

According to folklore Niall McKenna, chief of his clan, married Maureen McMahon, daughter of one of his greatest enemies, in Castle Leslie in the 17th Century.

Hopefully, the marriage of McCartney and Mills will cause less consternation.

The castle estate boasts three lakes, rolling parkland and an excellent fishing lake.

The feel of much of the interior is Italian, full of 16th and 17th Century furniture acquired by the first baronet on a Grand Tour.

Lake views

Well-known for its traditional qualities, the bedrooms have no phones, televisions or clocks.

Its highlights are the three master bedrooms, which each have a story of their own.

The Mauve Room has been patronised by dignitaries including Queen Margaret of Sweden, the Duke and Duchess of Connaught, and Prince Pierre of Monaco, while the Blue Room is a former mini-cinema.

Leslies through the ages
Attila the Hun 5th Century
Bartholomew Leslie 1067-1121 - saved Queen Margaret of Scotland's life
"Fighting Bishop" John Leslie 1571-1671
Charles Leslie 1650-1722 - seditious wit led to high treason charges
Charles Powell Leslie I 1731-1800 - tutored future Duke of Wellington
The Red Room is said to have the best views of the lake, with an antique Italian four poster that has been both deathbed and birth

Family legend tells of a number of deceased family members making ghostly appearances in the room.

It has also played host to poets, with both W B Yeats and Sir John Betjeman said to have slept there.

Sir Paul's guests will enter the castle, not to a typical reception desk, but an oak-panelled hall and a roaring fire.

Already popular as a wedding venue before Sir Paul's patronage, all 14 bedrooms and the exclusive use of the castle can be secured for 3,110 euros (2,015) for one night between Sunday and Thursday. Friday and Saturday night are booked together for 6920 (4,484) euros.

BBC News Online charts Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills' relationship

The courtship

The happy couple

Remembering Linda



In Pictures
Sir Paul's big day
See also:

08 Jun 02 | Entertainment
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