In the small, unassuming village of Slane, near to the Battle of the Boyne site and the tombs at Newgrange, is Slane Castle. The Castle, as it sits now, was reconstructed back in 1785 by James Gandon, James Wyatt and Francis Johnston, who also designed the Gothic gates that adorn nearby Mill Hill, and Townley Hall.
The rebuild was supervised by the 1st Marquess Conyngham, and the Conyngham family has occupied the Castle ever since. The Catholic Anglo-Norman Flemings were the previous owners but, having allied themselves with the Jacobites, on King William III victory over James II the land was forfeited to the Williamite Lord.
In the eastern part of the Castle’s 1500 acre grounds is St Erc’s Hermitage, a ruined chapel said to be associated with the 5th century saint, although the visible remains of the chapel appear to only date from the 1400s. About a quarter mile west of the chapel ruins is an ancient well. Legend says that the well was blessed by the God Dian Cecht, to allow all the Tuatha Dé Danann to bathe in it and heal any mortal wound. As with many pagan sites, Christianity’s arrival forced a name change, and it is now known as Our Lady’s well.
Slane Castle is also well-known for holding rock concerts for as many as 80,000 people on a yearly and sometimes bi-yearly basis. The world renown festival attracts top acts, such as U2, Madonna, the Rolling Stones, Guns n’ Roses and Bruce Springsteen.