Luttrellstown Castle and its surrounding 600 acre estate boasts a unique and intriguing history. The estate itself dates back to the thirteenth century, and we are often asked by visitors about who lived here when, and what we might know about their lives.
Fortunately, we have a lot of knowledge on this topic!
The estate was originally acquired by Sir Geoffrey Luttrell in 1210, and the Luttrell family held onto it for some three hundred years after he bought it.
Sir Geoffrey was granted permission for the land by King John of England, for whom he made many ‘missions of state’ to Ireland. Not only that, but King John was there by Sir Geoffrey’s side when the purchase was being made. With such powerful connections, it’s no wonder the Luttrells were the most prominent landowners in the district by the start of the seventeenth century!
The castle’s oldest structures date back to 1429, when King Henry IV offered a grant to landowners to build fortified houses known later as ‘tower castles’. Luttrellstown Castle in all its glory was born, in order to avail of the princely £10 grant offered by the King (inflation is a remarkable thing).
In 1689, Simon and Henry Luttrell supported King James II in his efforts to retain the throne after it was usurped by William of Orange. However Henry switched sides suddenly after the siege of Limerick. His reward was gaining Luttrellstown off of elder brother Simon, who went into exile in France. You could say karma got Henry in the end though; he was assassinated in Dublin in 1717.
It was 1799 when Luttrellstown finally left the family from which it derives its famous name. Henry Lawes Luttrell, 2nd Earl of Carhampton, sold Luttrellstown Castle and its demesne in June that year to Luke White, a publisher from the Isle of Man who had built his own business from the ground up, buying books in Dublin and trading all across Ireland. White later became an MP for Leitrim.
When Luke White died in 1824, his son Henry inherited the castle and estate. Henry White is known to have entertained Queen Victoria at Luttrellstown in August 1849. She was on an extended Royal visit, and dropped in for a cup of tea!
The estate changed hands once more in 1915 when Major E.C Hamilton purchased it. He died just three years later, with his widow selling the property to famous brewing tycoon Ernest Guinness in 1927.
Ernest had bought the property not for himself, but as a wedding present for his daughter Aileen, who had married a cousin, Brinsley Sheridan Plunket.
Back in 1916 he had brought his daughter Aileen on a visit to Luttrellstown along with a school friend. While in the glen, he overheard his daughter whispering to her friend that she would love to live in Luttrellstown. Her wish was eventually his command.
The story goes that, after Aileen returned from her honeymoon, her father asked her if she would like to take a drive to Luttrellstown as he was looking after the house for widow Hamilton. On arrival at the door, he handed the key to Aileen to her surprise and happiness.
True to her word, Aileen Plunket adored the castle and entertained there on a very large scale, hosting hunt balls and other grand social events in the opulent dining room and ballrooms, which are still in use for weddings and other functions to this day.
Aileen Plunket eventually sold Luttrellstown in 1983 to the Primwest Group and went to live in Connemara for some years, eventually settling in the UK, where she died aged 94.
The castle was extensively re-decorated and furnished for personal use by Mr Didier Primat, President of Primwest Holdings. Once complete, it became clear that Mr Primat would only occasionally stay at the estate owing to his jetset lifestyle. It was decided that the building could be rented out as a high end venue and a place for the rich and famous to stay.
In 2006, businessmen and current owners J.P McManus and John Magnier purchased the estate, and turned it into the extraordinary and exclusive venue it is today.
Luttrellstown is now somewhere you can have your fairy-tale wedding, play golf or go for afternoon tea in the dining room where Aileen Plunket once did, looking out onto the famous estate’s lush parkland.