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What Is Slane Castle?

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  • Written By: Susan Grindstaff
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2016
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Slane Castle is a historical castle in Ireland, located in the county of Meath. Situated on 1,500 acres (607 hectares) within the Boyne Valley, its construction is believed to have begun during 1785, by the order of Baron William Burton Conyngham, and was first occupied by his nephew Henry Conyngham, who eventually became the first Marquess of Conyngham. Much of the castle has been reconstructed and restored, and it serves as a popular tourist attraction and event venue, complete with banquet rooms, amphitheater, and overnight accommodations. The castle is also well known for yearly concerts and its own brand of Irish whiskey.

Surrounded by deep forests, the Slane Castle estate features pastoral views of rolling meadows and valleys that reach to the edges of the River Boyne. This idyllic setting is probably the primary reason that the castle attracts thousands of tourists each year. According to some travel and entertainment experts, it is one of the most well-maintained castles of historical significance in all of Europe. Unlike many historical buildings, which are often restored with government funding, Slane Castle was restored primarily with private endowments.

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During the 1980s, Slane Castle became renowned as a venue for rock concerts, and over the years it has hosted concerts by famous bands such as U2, The Rolling Stones, and Queen. The open-air concerts are held on estate grounds that surround a natural amphitheater. Attendees typically travel from all over Europe and the US, and as many as 75,000 to 100,000 guests typically show up for these yearly events.

Slane Castle has also become famous for its own brand of Irish whiskey, which is said to be a smooth blend of grain and single malt. The whiskey was chosen by the Conyngham family, who has said that it took them more than three years of sampling before deciding on the blend. Before being bottled, the whiskey is first matured in aged oaks for a minimum of four years. The castle hosts “tasting tours,” where guests are invited to tour the castle and sample various flavors of whiskey along the way.

Like many historical castles in Europe, Slane Castle has become a popular venue for weddings and other special events. The typical wedding package involves a one-day exclusive rental of the entire castle and grounds. During this period, guests have access the all castle amenities, including banquet rooms, ballrooms, and private suites for overnight guests. Services such as food catering and cleanup are provided by the castle staff.

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