One of the highlights of my latest travels involved a side-trip, in the Boyne Valley known as Slain, Ireland. It takes about 45 minutes to get there taking the N2 northwest out of Dublin.
The Castle History
I was initially intent on finding lunch and seeing the legendary Hill of Slane where the tradition of St. Patrick began. But I fortuitously first stumbled on a culinary delight of venison bourguignon at Slain Castle Browne’s Bar. The bar is just one of the two places to eat within Slain Castle, the ancestral home of Henry Conyngham, the 8th Marquess Conyngham. Browne’s Bar is actually named after, and housed in what was the sitting room of, the maid to the grandmother of Henry Conyngham (Mary Browne). This distinctive eatery hosts many rock ’n’ roll collectables on the wall, with pictures of past performers of Slane Concerts held on the castle grounds. Past performers of concerts provided many of the memorabilia. And I’m talking about major headliners like Queen, The Rolling Stones, Red Hot Chili Peppers, U2, etc. The castle’s sloping grounds form a natural amphitheater where the concerts are held nearly annually. You can again tour the castle (for about 12 Euros), now that renovations have been completed after a massive fire severely damaged it in 1991.
The Slain Castle Irish Whiskey distillery is located next to the castle within the beautiful 250-year old horse stables. Brown-Forman (owner of the Jack Daniel Distillery) acquired the distillery in 2015. When I took a tour in mid-January 2018 (at a cost of 18 Euros), the new distillery was just being completed. The tour guide was wonderfully engaging and definitely a ton better than the tour I took of Guinness in Dublin. We walked through the distilling process with our tour guide and finished with a tasting of their triple-casked blend of Irish whiskey.