evictions, classy parties & a hunting estate to rival Balmoral

Glenveagh Castle was built in 1867 by John George Adair, a wealthy land speculator from Co. Laois. His dream was to create a beautiful hunting estate in Donegal by buying plots belonging to small landowners. It was here, in 1861, that he would shroud his name in infamy by ruthlessly evicting some 244 tenants with what became known throughout Ireland as the Derryveagh Evictions. He, however, died suddenly in 1885. His American wife Cornelia, however, continued to improve the estate for the next 30 years. It was then purchased in 1929 by Professor Arthur Kingsley Porter of Harvard University, an archaeologist, who mysteriously disappeared from Inishbofin Island in 1933. It was then bought in 1937 by an Irish American Millionaire called Mr. Henry McIlhenny of Philadelphia. His grandfather was local to the area and The McIlhenny had made their fortune from the invention and sale of Tabasco Sauce. Henry was a patron and collector of arts in American and was ‘well connected’ to the rich and famous stars of the time. He invited many of them to the estate and his guests read like a who’s who of American celebrity. These included Clark Gable, Great Garbo, Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, and John Wayne. He bestowed the estate and castle to the nation in 1981 which is now open to the public.