The principal seat of the Marquesses of Downshire for more than 200 years, Hillsborough Castle was constructed with a warm golden-orange masonry by Wills Hill in the 1770s as a simple country home for his family. Today, the expanded and remodeled mansion is still at work as the venue for ceremonial and personal royal and state functions. Many a president and princess have passed through the Ionic columns of the central pedimented portico for royal engagements and peace discussions. The exquisite interiors—mazes of gilded rooms and furniture utilized by past and present world leaders—are usually only visible to the public on guided tours, but are now available for exclusive overnight stays with Ker & Downey.
While here, guests of Ker & Downey are treated like royalty, following in the footsteps of those before them. Upon arrival, enjoy a formal greeting in the State Entrance grand hall and signing of the Royal family’s guest book in the adjacent Candlestick Hall. Delight in meals in one of two elegant dining rooms, one of which normally houses State dinners, as well as full use of the majestic throne room, the lovely drawing room, and the infamous Lady Grey’s Sitting Room where Tony Blair and George W. Bush held their Iraq talks in 2003. Each chamber boasts original furniture and works of art from the time of the Marquis, including such gems as the sitting room’s mahogany secretaire, which was originally made for the Titanic’s sister ship, the Britannic. Additions have been made over time and now also feature royal portraiture, old masters, and selections by renowned local artists plucked straight from the Royal Collection.
Not to be outdone by the interior’s extravagance, the surrounding 98 acres of Hillsborough Castle encompass a range of idyllic landscapes, including ornamental gardens, peaceful woodlands, meandering waterways, vast lakes, moss covered trails, and open meadows, all saturated with exotic plants, intriguing flora, and commemorative trees. Enjoy a jaunt through the two formal gardens: the Jubilee Garden, redesigned to celebrate Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, and the Granville Garden, showcasing a magnificent, Guinness Book of Records worthy Rhododendron. Guests particularly enjoy reveling in the statues, temples, bird life, and perfectly presented nature along the beloved Lime Tree and Yew Tree Walks, gravel or moss underfoot.
Hillsborough Castle is overseen by the prestigious Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) organization, whose mission is to maintain and preserve the places where history has been made. Its inclusion among the palaces of HRP places it among the Britain’s most elite landmarks alongside the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, and Kew Palace.
Ker & Downey is thrilled to include such a monumental property among its exclusive offerings. Contact Ker & Downey to learn how you can make Hillsborough Castle a part of your next luxury experience in Ireland.