History of Belleek Castle
Belleek Castle was built between 1825 and finished in 1831 for the cost of £10,000. The building was commissioned by Sir Arthur Francis Knox-Gore for the cost of £10,000 and . The manor house was designed by the prolific architect John Benjamin Keanes, and the Neo-Gothic architecture met the taste of the time, when Medieval styles became fashionable again. The house is thought to have replaced an earlier structure & is named after the original Belleek Castle, a 13th Tower House Castle situated on the banks of the River Moy. Francis lived at Belleek Castle with his wife Sarah and his 9 children until his death in 1873. According to his wishes he was buried in Belleek Demense. A striking Neo-Gothic Monument, designed by James Franklin Fuller, now marks his grave and is situated in the middle of Belleek Woods. It is said that his wife & favourite horse are both buried beside him. His eldest son Charles Knox-Gore inherited & became the 2nd Baronet. Charles died without issue in 1890 & was also buried in Belleek Demense beside the River Moy, and his dog Phizzie was buried beside him. The house was inherited by his sister Matilda who married Major General William Boyd Saunders of Torquay. Their grandson William Arthur Cecil Saunders-Knox-Gore sold the house in 1942.
The house was later purchased by the Beckett family who intended on converting the Manor House into a stud farm but later sold the house. Mayo County Council purchased the house in the 1950's and used the Manor House as a hospital & military barracks and was later abandoned it. It was at this time that Mayo County Council considered taking the roof of the building to avoid paying rates. Fortunately Marshall Doran, a merchant navy officer and an avid collector of fossils and medieval armour, acquired the run down property in 1961, restored it and opened it as a hotel in 1970. Some of the rooms are in 19th style, whilst most of the interior design has a medieval and nautical touch. Marshall, being quite a craftsman, did a lot of the work himself, assisted by John Mullen, and supervised the restoration expertly. Today, the Castle is managed by Marshall’s son Paul Doran and Ms. Maya Nikolaeva.
Guided Tour of Belleek Castle & The Marshall Doran Collection
A unique Museum Experience in Ballina, County Mayo, Ireland
The Belleek Castle Tour includes an explanation of the origins of the Castle and the history of its former owners, the Knox-Gore family, the Earls of Arran.
You will see private dining rooms, decorated in opulent romantic style, as well as the Medieval Banquet Hall, the Spanish Armada Bar and the Tween Deck.
The highlight of the tour will be The Marshall Doran Collection, which is one of the finest collections of arms and armour, fossils and antiques in Ireland. You will also see the Grace O’Malley room and the last wolf shot in Connaught.
Featured in the Top 25 Small Wonders in Ireland 2019 in the Irish Independent by Pól Ó Conghaile & Nicola Brady.
“Yes, it’s a hotel. But that doesn’t even begin to describe the Tardis-like offering at Belleek Castle, a Blue Book bolthole set by Ballina Woods. A tour will take you through the manor house, from quirky Spanish Armada Bar and ‘Tween Deck’ to the Marshal Doran Collection, where exhibits range from Grace O’Malley’s four-poster bed to the last wolf shot in Connaught.”
Pól Ó Conghaile
Belleek Castle Museum is the holder of the Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor.
Tours are available 10.30am, 12pm, 2pm & 4pm daily.
We are also happy to cater for you any time by appointment!
In the busy summer season, we strongly advice to book your tour in advance!
Family ticket €30
(Group & family discounts are available )
We also take school tours and educational programs for children, by appointment only.
Please inquire to our curator Stephen via curator@belleekCastle.eu '
Reviewed on Tripadvisor october 2018
A Hidden Treasure
I wasn't sure what to expect on a visit to Belleek Caste, organised by friends. The history of the castle and its various owners is fascinating. Even more fascinating is the varied range of artifacts and fossils collected by Marshall Doran, the Englishman who purchased the castle in 1961 and went on to restore it. Now a luxury hotel and popular wedding venue the basement of the castle has rooms devoted to ancient weapons and armour, fossils and the bed of Graine O'Malley. Marshall Dolan collected a wide variety of items and from a range of carved wooden furnishings created a most attractive dining room that looks as if it once graced an old sailing ship.
Reviewed on Tripadvisor 13th October 2018
Awesome Castle, Museum & Food
My wife in I were in Ballina on a rainy day and wondered what to do. We discovered the Belleck Castle and had a totally amazing day. The museum was fascinating, the hotel was beautiful and the restaurant next door was really good. Great day!
Reviewed On Tripadvisor 15th September 2018
My husband and I took a tour of the castle today and enjoyed every minute. Our tour guide Elizabeth was very friendly and entertained us throughout with her great knowledge of the history of the patrons and the building. The private collection was amazing and my husband took great joy in being able to handle some of the weapons. Worth every cent of the ten euro entry. We also enjoyed a lovely walk through the forest down to the river. We will definitely come back and bring our relations and friends when they visit us from the UK. Thank you Elizabeth for showing us around the beautiful Belleek Castle
Reviewed on Tripadvisor 11th June 2018
A MUST DO
TAKE THE MUSEUM TOUR. This museum has such a mixture of historical features including originals from the building construction, to imported and redesigned items from the eclectic prior owner (Duran, whose son now owns/runs it). There's an old statue from a local sunken Spanish Armada ship (dating in the 1500's), an imported fireplace from the 1400's, and fossils from tens of thousands of years ago. Truly fascinating. And who doesn't want to pretend to stab their husband with an authentic broad sword? FANTASTIC FIND!