Huntington Castle , County Carlow

The elegance of Huntington Castle , built at Clonegall in 1625 by Lord Esmond , caught the eye of director Stanley Kubrick , who chose it as the location for his 1975 film Barry Lyndon.

The castle occupies the site of a monastery , of which little remains except a 600 year old yew walk, the branches curving over to form a long , cool tunnel. A vine that grows vigorously in the conservatory comes from a cutting that was given to Ann Boleyn (1507-36) by Cardinal Wolsey.

The castle was occupied by Cromwell’s men in the late 1640’s but its dungeon was used as recently as 1921. For those who like their history spiced with a little mystery , Huntington also offers connections with the Egyptian goddess Isis. The owner of the castle , the Reverend Lawrence Durdin-Robertson , founded the Fellowship of Isis in 1976 along with his wife and his sister. Shrines to the goddess have been set up in the castle’s cellars.

Huntington Castle is a real hidden gem and worth a visit on your tours of Ireland.