Sarah Brookes onby
Our marriage ceremony was held in Sligo Cathedral, which was beautiful, with the reception at Markree. My husband and I had decided to get married in Sligo as we had relations there and had previously attended 3 family weddings at Markree Castle and had a great time at every one.
We knew that we wanted to make a weekend of it, as most of the guests were travelling from the UK but this meant that the months running up to the wedding logistically demanding - with 150 people needing to be booked in to all available accommodation in an around the castle (as well as the small matter of planning the day itself from the UK…).
The staff at Markree couldn’t have been more helpful and their support and attention throughout the whole process was exceptional. Jeremy and his team were so accommodating of all of our requests and really flexible to any changes we needed to make. Particular mention goes to Simon who was just brilliant in the months preceding the wedding – managing our (often changing) guest accommodation bookings with a really lovely manner, coming back to us promptly and making the whole process so much easier.
Many of our guests were booked into the ‘Homefarm’ apartments, where we had a fab hog roast the day before. Everyone who stayed there loved them and the addition of a hot tub was much appreciated! The apartments are extremely clean and the staff were brilliant - nothing was too much trouble.
The castle itself is imposing and impressive as you drive up and so charming and cosy when you get inside, our guests were bowled over. If you are expecting / wanting a glitzy refurbished, pristine hotel then Markree isn’t for you. If what you want is a real castle with character, charm, individuality and a very very warm welcome then this is your place. I am a fussy customer when it comes to hotels and while this isn’t the fanciest we’ve stayed in it’s certainly one of the most homely and welcoming.
The rooms are all kitted out with antique pieces and each one has its own individual identity (but this is in no way a theme hotel). The beds are clean and really comfortable and the communal areas are grand and beautiful, with log fires burning regardless of the season. The gardens are stunning which, if you are lucky enough to have bright weather, make for great photos. You don’t need the weather here though because the castle is such a great venue inside and out.
The wedding day itself couldn’t have gone better. The breakfast was fabulous, full Irish or whatever you fancy. Us girls all got ready in room 17 (huge and bright and in one of the turrets) accompanied by champagne and sandwiches. The drinks reception was great - we had chosen to take the corkage option and brought our own champagne, which worked really well when coupled with buckets of corona and lime from the bar.
The meal was amazing, our guests are still raving about the food, which was plentiful, piping hot and included a number of special changes that the chef had accommodated for us.
We hired a DJ and danced the night away until around 3am, when the late stayers then retired to the comfy seats for some late night tipples and chats. The staff didn’t ever rush us or make us feel that the night was over. Which was really important to us because we really didn’t want the lights-up, closed bar at midnight, abrupt end that we had experienced at other weddings.
We couldn’t recommend Markree highly enough - the stunning venue, the amazing staff, the many accommodation options and the surrounding landscape.
It really is a beautiful part of the world and the welcome you get at Markree is second to none. We wouldn’t have changed a thing and CAN’T WAIT for our anniversary stay (courtesy of Markree) next May.
Paul and Sarah