Belle Isle Castle S/C
At the heart of Belle Isle’s 470-acre estate, the 17th-century castle, once home to generations of nobles, welcomes groups of up to 16 guests. We have recently completed a gentle update with the conversion of the existing bathrooms to en-suite while retaining the original period details of the bedrooms. The castle now features 7 luxurious en-suite bedrooms.
Dramatic colours offset fine English and Irish antique furnishings, rattan furniture from the spice island of Cebu, and works by Russian, Irish, and English painters. The ambience is comfortable and welcoming, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering views of a charming sunken garden.
Upon entering this historic castle you will be immersed in luxury. A magnificent double-vaulted entrance hall will lead you into an elegant drawing room with an open fireplace. The grand hall, a banqueting room that seats 65, has its own minstrels’ gallery.
Belle Isle has been inhabited since the 12th century. Originally called Ballymacmanus, it was home the MacManus and Maguire family, including one of the compilers of the Annals of Ulster, Cathal Og Mac Manus. The Annals are now in the Bodleian Library in Oxford and Trinity Library in Dublin.
In the early 17th century, an eminent soldier, Paul Gore, came into possession of Belle Isle. His descendant Sir Ralph Gore built the first house on the island. His grandson, who was born at Belle Isle Castle in 1725 and was also named Sir Ralph Gore, extended the house and created a magnificent garden that reached to the lough shore. Sir Ralph was created Earl of Ross in 1772. He died in 1801, leaving Belle Isle to his only surviving child, Mary. She married an Englishman, Richard Hardinge, who sold Belle Isle in 1830 to Rev. John Porter for £68,000. The Porters expanded the castle and added the tower.
The Coach House was built in 1856, along with the estate offices and farmyard. Porter’s grandson expanded the castle again in 1910, adding the gallery, more bedrooms, and the porch. In 1991 the Duke of Abercorn bought Belle Isle Estate from Miss Lavinia Baird, the last member of the Porter family.
In 1992 the Bridge House was the first cottage to be converted to a holiday house. The conversion of the Hamilton Wing, which is now used to host up to 14 guests, was completed the following year. The Coach House was converted in 1996 and the Courtyard in 1998.
The Duke bought the estate for his second son, Nicholas Hamilton, an artist in New York. Nicholas married Tatiana Kronberg, also an artist, on 30 August, 2009. Nicholas and Tatiana are involved in the estate’s operations and have created the photography on this website. Day-to-day management is carried out by Charles Plunket, who has been with us for 16 years, and assisted by Andrea McIlveen, a longtime employee.