The Red Room

The Red Room has been at the centre of family life at Castle Leslie Estate for centuries - a doorway in and out of life on the estate, so to speak. Anita Leslie King gave birth to her daughter, Leonie, in this room.

Norman Leslie was seen by Lady Marjorie Leslie beside the chest of drawers in 1914, a few weeks after he had been killed on the battlefields of France. He appeared as if in a cloud of light, reading through some of his letters, as if he was searching for one in particular. Lady Marjorie sat up in bed with a start, and said, `Why Norman - what are you doing here?' He simply turned to her and smiled, then faded away. So did the light.

Lady Marjorie held court and received visitors in the Red Room until her death in 1951. At the very moment of her departure, she appeared in Desmond Leslie’s London flat where his son, Sean, then a baby, was dying of a poisoned mastoid. She came up the corridor in a gust of wind, touched Sean, who suddenly said, "pain gone." He was perfectly cured.

About the same time, Desmond's mother in law, Emmy, had a vision of Marjorie pointing across the lake to a fantastic palace, glowing in the sky. Marjorie said to her, `Look where I am going to live now.'

Helen and Desmond Leslie claimed the Red Room as their bedroom when they lived in the castle. Their daughters, Sammy and Camilla (or Milly as she is affectionately called), used to wake them up in the morning by jumping on the bed and then refusing to go to the village school, which in those days only taught knitting, catechism and Irish.

The Red Room has accommodated W B Yeats, the infamous Irish poet, as well as numerous ambassadors to Dublin. Sir John Benjamin stayed in the room during the last war while he was culturally attached to the British Embassy in Dublin. He thought that Glaslough's little camp-gothic railway station (now closed, alas) was the prettiest station in the world.

The French ambassador and his wife, M. et Mme. Guerlet, fared relatively badly, at the hands of the Leslie children, while staying at the castle. The Guerlets were assigned to the Red Room when practical jokes were in vogue. Gongs ran as they tried to open their door. When they turned on their bedside lights, loud motor horns blew. A wooden hand cunningly concealed between the two massive piles of pillows, remained hidden until the weight of heads pressed the pillows down, and a gruesome grey hand rose between them. Excellent for cementing good diplomatic relations!

The children also created a full-sized dummy witch, mounted on roller skates. A string attached her to the bathroom door, so that when it was opened, the witch would shoot out waving her broomstick. Poor Mrs McEntee, wife of Sean McEntee, who'd survived the GPO in 1916, fainted at the sight.

However, without the interference of children, the Red Room is a very pleasant room in which to relax. Blessed with the most stunning views of the lake, the Red Room is one of the Master Suites and also one of the most popular bedrooms in the castle. With its magnificent four poster bed, it is perfect for those looking for a special romantic hideaway. Except for the noble French `armoire' cupboard, all the furniture in the room, including the four poster bed, came from Peruggia in Italy.

The huge panelled bath is the first bath ever installed in Ireland. For many years it was hardly more than a show piece. Amazed visitors were shown how it worked and, on occasion, were even allowed to turn the huge taps on and off. However, only children, dogs and servants actually took baths in it! The tub is so deep that climbing out can be difficult. Now restored to its former glory, it is a lovely place for guests to relax in with their partners, while sipping an evening drink. The quirky and unique throne toilet was invented and designed by Sammy Leslie to fit in with the grand surroundings.

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