The very long driveway through green fields, leading past an onsite golf course, eventually comes up a hill to Cabra Castle. This was where we stayed almost on our last night in Ireland, and it was an adventure.
You are greeted by the Irish wolf hounds, a pair of them, who are also symbolized on the windvane. These two are moping around awaiting their master’s arrival, and when he came in his mercedes, they perked right up!
The original castle here was mostly destroyed during the Cromwell period and then taken from its rightful owners and given to some English elites. We pick up the story from the website after that.
Colonel Joseph Pratt bought Cormy Castle with about 400 acres of Cormy Land from Mr Augustus Foster in 1813, and moved from Cabra House (near the Wishing Well) to the castle in that year. For a few years he continued to use the original name of Cormy Castle for his new home, but later – in about 1820 – Colonel Pratt renamed it Cabra Castle, and it has been known by this name ever since.
Colonel Joseph Pratt had married Jamina, daughter of Sir James Tynte, and had ten children. The eldest – Mervyn, born in 1807, married Madeleline Jackson, only daughter and heiress of Colonel Jackson of Enniscoe, Co. Mayo. They inherited this property when Colonel Pratt died. He succeeded his father, Col. Joseph Pratt, as owner of Cabra in 1863, but from this time onwards the interests of the Pratt Family were divided between Cabra in Co. Cavan, and Enniscoe in Co. Mayo. Mervyn Pratt died in 1890 and was succeeded on his death by his eldest son – Major Mervyn Pratt, in 1927.
Major Mervyn Pratt was badly wounded in the Boer War and never married. He lived permanently at Enniscoe, and left Cabra unoccupied. His younger brother, Colonel Audley Pratt, was killed in the First World War and also was unmarried.
Major Mervyn Pratt died at Enniscoe in December 1950, and left Cabra to his nearest male relative – Mervyn Sheppard, a Malayan Civil Servant. The burden of death duties, taxation, rates, cost of repairs to the castle, and farm losses made it impossible for him to live there. In 1964, he reluctantly disposed of the property, 265 years after Cabra land first came into the family possession.
In 1964, a local family – the Brennan Family, bought Cabra Castle. They renovated the building and converted it into a 22 bedroom hotel.
It was in their ownership up until 1986, when it was then sold to a group of Arabs. They closed down the hotel, finished off prebooked functions, and then kept the building as a private house. Having closed the castle, with view to retaining it as a private house, political and economic circumstances in the Middle East prevented the new Arab owners from further enjoyment and development of the property. It effectively lay idle until 1991, when it was purchased by its present owners, the Corscadden Family, who re-opened it as a hotel. Since then the property has been extensively refurbished and expanded from 24 bedrooms, to incorporate the former Courtyard area bringing the total number of bedrooms to 80.
You find yourself going up and down and round and round to find the dining room or your own room, or the way to patio. Then you run into these rather overdressed butlers…