The new Castle Trail at Castle Saunderson Demesne, Belturbet, County Cavan, was launched by Fáilte Ireland's Ireland Ancient East, in March 2017.
Located on the northern frontier of Ireland's Ancient East, on the border between Cavan and Fermanagh, in the heart of the UNESCO Geopark, the story of Castle Saunderson is marked by fire and blood, conquest and division, and, finally, peace, reconciliation and multi-culturalism, with an international scouting centre opening adjacent to the castle in 2012. In many ways, the story of Castle Saunderson is reflective of the story of the island of Ireland.
The development of the Castle Trail has seen the original walkways around the castle reinstated, and charts the history of the Saundersons, one of the most significant Anglo-Irish families, and in particular Colonel Edward Saunderson, known as the ‘Hero of the Loyalists’ and the founder of modern Irish Unionism.
While Col. Saunderson’s legacy has largely been forgotten, there is little doubt that he was a giant of 19th century Irish and British politics, and this first phase of investment in Castle Saunderson will attract visitors to the area, while acknowledging this family’s fascinating story, which takes in Brian Boru, William of Orange, and even infamous Nazi war criminals.
The last Saunderson who owned the castle was Edward's grandson, Captain Alexander "Sandy" Saunderson. He was a prisoner of war in WWII and was later present at War Tribunal at Nuremberg as the legal advisor to Lord Justice Lawrence. He sold the property to a businessman in 1977. He had planned to use it as a residence, but this never transpired. It later served as a hotel, but was damaged by fire, the third fire to occur at the Castle.
The grounds include a church with crypt and family grave yard - the perfect way to spend an evening with the whole family.
The Castle is open from 9am - 5pm, Monday - Sunday. For further information, contact 00353 49 437 8543
The entrance to Castle Saunderson is shared with Castle Saunderson International Scouting Centre, located on the N54 just outside Cloverhill and Belturbet and only 18km from Cavan town. Read More