This panoramic photograph of Markree Castle was taken late in an afternoon in July 2011. It comprises 6 separate photographs and was shot from the south overlooking the Unsin River which flows though the castle's 800 acre estate. The castle has been lovingly restored by the current owner Charles Cooper to become one of the finest country house hotels in Ireland.

Charles is the 10th generation of his family to live at Markree Castle. It has been the ancestral home of the Coopers since 1663 when the castle and its surrounding lands were awarded to Charles Cooper (who severed under Oliver Cromwell). The original Markree Castle dated from the 14th Century and belonged to the McDonagh Clan.

The 17th century was a turbulent time at Markree. The castle was occupied by a Catholic army during an attempt by the English King James to regain the thrown and the Coopers had to flee Markree. They returned to the caste after the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 where they remain to the present day (with the exception of a brief period during the Irish Civil War when Markree was again occupied by an army, this time fighting on the side of the Irish Free State). The castle as we see it today dates from 1802 and is built in the Victorian style.

Markree made the record books for recording the coldest temperature ever measured in Ireland when a low of -19.1°C was recorded at the castle on 16th January 1881. The castle is also home to longest serving weather station in Ireland.  The castle is also noteworthy for housing the Markree Observatory which was set up in 1830 and which for a number of years was home to the largest telescope in the world.

The Anglican hymn All Things Bright and Beautiful is said to have been composed by Cecil Frances Humphreys Alexander when she stayed in the castle in 1848.

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© Ciaran McHugh Photography 2009-2017, by Sea Design