Lough Muckno

Lough Muckno

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Name Lough Muckno County Monaghan Nearest Town Castleblaney Access Road N2 About Lough Muckno is located in the town of Castleblaney in County Monaghan.

The town itself has plenty of pubs and restuarants and accommodation.

On the banks of Lough Muckno is the impressive Hope Castle which now serves as a restaurant and bar.

In 1853, Cadwaller Blayney, the 12th Lord and sometime MP for Monaghan in the United Kingdom Parliament, sold the Castle and estate to Henry Thomas Hope from Deepdene in Surrey, a former MP at Westminster.

Thereafter the Castle was renamed 'Hope Castle', as it still called.

Hope gave the Georgian Castle with its splendid prospect a Victorian makeover that the present prettified building retains, externally at least.

'Castle' has always been a misnomer, since it was more of a 'Big House', mansion or manor house than a castle.

After his death in 1862, Hope's wife, Anne, inherited the estate.

Soon after 1887, the Castle and demesne fell to the next heir, a grandson of Hope: Henry Francis Hope Pelham-Clinton-Hope, otherwise known as 'Lord Francis Hope', famous for having sold the renowned family heirloom, the 'Hope Diamond'.

After 1916, he no longer resided in the Castle or in Ireland.

On becoming the Duke of Newcastle in 1928, he later sold off both the Castle and the estate which became broken up and used in part for local political patronage.

During the 'Emergency', the old woods on the Black Island in Lough Muckno were comprehensively despoiled by the Irish Free State government, so that for several decades the Island was a wilderness and environmental eyesore.

The woods were only reinstated in recent times as a valuable amenity.

After some years of neglect, the Castle has been used for catering and hotel purposes set in what is now a Leisure Park with golf course, though the location and lough suffer from being in management and conservation limbo, despite its amenity status.

The current Castleblayney Golf Club adopted the Blayney family coat of arms, with its three nags' heads.

Lough Muckno is now firmly established as a national watersports centre and is also an excellent fishing lake