“It is each little woman’s dream to get married in a fortress, is not it?” muses Marnie Corscadden.

Kerry-based Marnie is aware of what she’s speaking about.

She and her husband Rory O’Sullivan celebrated their huge day inside crenellated partitions and have been welcoming different brides and grooms to their very own fortress, Ballyseede, close to Tralee, ever since.

The reception at Ballyseede.

In truth, Marnie’s household, the Corscaddens, run 4 fortress accommodations throughout Eire — and all 4 function in a “finest fortress wedding venue” checklist unveiled this week.

Eire is understood internationally for its abundance of historic and romantic-looking buildings.

A few of these are unique historic houses and others are buildings reworked particularly for the wedding market.

Fairytale exterior: Ballyseede. Image: Keep Wild Photos

“These really wow issue wedding venues are perfect for {couples} after a fairytale really feel for his or her celebrations or these searching for the proper stability of historic attraction and luxurious for his or her huge day,” says Dublin-based Shell Holden of SaveMyDay.

So, are TV collection like Downton Abbey and Netflix hits like Bridgerton behind the recognition of such grand nuptial homes-away-from house?

“The ‘Bridgerton issue’ and people enthralled by the hit present’s elegant backdrops, manicured gardens and opulent interiors has additionally spiked an elevated curiosity in fortress and stately house venues to host wedding ceremonies and receptions,” provides Shell, who arrange SaveMyDay.ie together with her associate Ian Menzies in 2021 to showcase different Irish venues out there to rent for weddings.

Spanning over 800 years of historical past and dotted throughout Eire from Dublin, Cavan, Roscommon, Louth, Kerry, Sligo and Clare, SaveMyDay.ie curated a listing of Eire’s Greatest Fortress Wedding Venues to assist {couples} plan their final huge day.

The drawing room in Cabra Castle.The drawing room in Cabra Fortress.

Making the checklist are Clontarf Fortress, Cabra Fortress, Kilronan Fortress Property, Bellingham Fortress, Ballyseede Fortress, Markree Fortress, Fitzpatrick Fortress, Temple Home Property and Castlefergus Lodge. Of these, Cabra, Markree, Bellingham and Ballyseede are owned by Marnie’s household.

A wedding at Markree Castle.  Picture: Emily Doran PhotographyA wedding at Markree Fortress. Image: Emily Doran Pictures

Kildare native Marnie, her brothers and sisters all toasted to their future happiness as newlyweds in castles.

Marnie comes from a household that owns and operates the award-winning Romantic Castles of Eire assortment, Eire’s largest unbiased and privately-owned assortment of luxurious fortress wedding venues.

The Courtyard Honeymoon Suite at Cabra Castle.The Courtyard Honeymoon Suite at Cabra Fortress.

The Corscaddens opened Cabra Fortress in 1992. Following this was Ballyseede Fortress in 2005, Bellingham Fortress in 2012 and the latest addition to the gathering, Markree Fortress, which was acquired by the hoteliers in 2015.

“My dad and mom and grandparents had been all hoteliers,” she says.

“My brother and I went to Shannon [College of Hotel Management], the resort college, as we name it. Howard, my brother, went on to work at Dromoland Fortress. When he was round 25, he noticed the potential in Cabra Fortress and the household purchased it, in 1992.”

“All of us moved as much as Cavan and realized that weddings and castles go collectively,” says Marnie. “Cabra had a captive market.”

It was after attending a funeral that Marnie’s mom added one other fortress to the household area. “My mom had come right down to a funeral in North Kerry,” says Marnie.

“She stopped right here in Ballyseede Fortress on her means again, and occurred to satisfy the earlier proprietor, Barth O’Connor.

“She principally purchased Ballyseede over a cup of espresso.”

Castles like Ballyseede are popular wedding venues.  Picture: Bruno Rosa PhotographyCastles like Ballyseede are well-liked wedding venues. Image: Bruno Rosa Pictures

At this level in her life, Marnie was touring the globe working as a world tourism marketing consultant.

“On February 1, 2005, I landed again in Eire, to run Ballyseede,” she says.

In fact, this was the peak of the Celtic Tiger period — with all that that entailed.

“Would you imagine we needed to fly builders down from Cavan, we could not get builders right here on the time?” she says.

“I informed my brother I wished the wedding group to be an entire shock — I allow them to do what they do finest,” she says.


The interiors and historical past of Ballyseede, Ballyseede, are additionally key elements of proudly owning and operating a fortress that Marnie relishes.

She has labored with designers GDC, gdcgroup.world, and Audrey Gaffney of Tailor and Wolf, Tailorandwolf, on the decor.

This venue is steeped in historical past and is about in 30 acres of historical woodlands.

The orangery at Ballyseede Castle.The orangery at Ballyseede Fortress.

Ballyseede Fortress was the chief garrison of the legendary Fitzgeralds, Earls of Desmond, and its elegant interiors embrace spectacular drawing rooms with ornate cornices, marble fireplaces and exquisite furnishings.

A wedding at Ballyseede.  Picture: Black Diamond PhotographyA wedding at Ballyseede. Image: Black Diamond Pictures

“Our coverage is all the things we make we reinvest again into the fortress, we simply preserve reinvesting,” says Marnie.

“You need to otherwise you go backwards.”

Hosts who’re throwing open the doorways of the grand corridor to brides and grooms “must make it higher and extra particular yearly”, provides Marnie.

Josephine's Kitchen at Cabra Castle.Josephine’s Kitchen at Cabra Fortress.

“For us, we perceive weddings. We all know what a bride is searching for so once we’re doing up previous castles we’re doing them up with an consciousness of what the bride needs,” she says.

“We get into the psyche of {couples}.”

“We gutted two accommodations, Bellingham and Markree, and rebuilt them as profitable wedding venues,” provides Marnie.

The important thing to profitable interiors in a fortress is to “preserve it classical”, Marnie believes.

“You attempt to comply with a pattern and it is outdated by subsequent 12 months,” she says. In fact, when your fortress is welcoming friends as a resort or wedding venue, she provides: “It needs to be sturdy and in a position to take a number of drunken Irish fellas singing The Fields of Athenry.”

Thirdly, good high quality is crucial, she believes. “You need to pay for high quality,” says Marnie.

“And you must change earlier than it appears to be like shabby the 12 months. We have now a painter and upkeep man always on name.”


Proper now, future proofing is essential.

“After we are doing constructing work in the mean time we’re enthusiastic about the longer term and the way sustainable it’s and the way it will look in 20 years’ time,” says Marnie.

“We’re taking a look at how we are able to do our bit for the surroundings.

“We’re placing photo voltaic panels into Cabra Fortress and can do the identical right here in Ballyseede, we’re going to set up a full roof of photo voltaic panels.

“We have now carried out an entire refurbishment with simply 4 rooms left in that newest cycle of refurbishment which began 5 years in the past.”


As for Marnie’s favourite perch?

“I really like sitting on the half-landing and searching the large open home windows to admire the view out over the countryside beneath.”


Like many castles, Ballyseede additionally has its very personal resident ghost, Hilda.

The exterior of Ballyseede Castle. The outside of Ballyseede Fortress.

“Hilda welcomed us right here and we really feel she nonetheless watches over us,” says Marnie.

“We shut for January and February and one thing huge all the time occurs in March once we reopen, when the constructing has not been lived in for a number of months — an image will fall off the wall or a door will open that ought to not open. One thing that can reawaken issues.

Clontarf Castle was on the list released by SaveMyDay.ie.  Picture: Love It Visuals PhotographyClontarf Fortress was on the checklist launched by SaveMyDay.ie. Image: Love It Visuals Pictures

“And it looks like 100% optimistic power.”

Marnie and Rory have two younger daughters, Daisy and Lily who’re each already displaying curiosity within the operating of the fortress, based on their mom, with Daisy growing a aptitude for all issues culinary and Lily for enterprise.

Real-life magic behind Ireland’s fairytale castle wedding venues


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