The Historic Castle Saunderson, County Cavan

Updated On: June 11, 2018

Castle Saunderson is located near Belturbet, County Cavan, Ireland. It was formerly owned by Saunderson family.

The original castle was inhabited by the O’Reillys of Breffni and formerly known as Breffni Castle. The Saunderson family acquired the original castle during the Ulster plantation.

In 1977, it was sold by Captain Alexander Saunderson to a businessman, who planned to use it as a residence. The estate was sold again in 1990 to be developed as a hotel, but a fire gutted and destroyed most of its interior.

In 1997, the castle was acquired by Scouting Ireland (CSI).


Family Tree

Alexander Sanderson, of Scotland, was made a Denizen of Ireland, 1613, and was appointed High Sheriff of County Tyrone in 1622, and twice subsequently.

He was granted Tullylagan, County Tyrone, and other lands to the extent of 1,000 acres, the whole being erected into the manor of Sanderson in 1630.

Mr Sanderson died in 1633, leaving three sons, the second of which settled at Portagh, and there built Castle Saunderson, County Cavan.

Architecture of Castle Saunderson 

Castle Saunderson is similar in its general design to Crom Castle in County Fermanagh. The entrance is symmetrical, with a battlemented parapet, square and turrets. There is a tall central gatehouse tower with its entrance door to the side. The house features several Gothic themes, including the conservatory.

The core of Castle Saunderson was built by Francis Saunderson around 1779. In the mid-1830s the building was remodeled to incorporate the Elizabethan gothic style.

The national tourist board, Fáilte Ireland, provided the castle with €60,175 in funding to “enhance the visitor experience and present the story of Castle Saunderson through the ages”. The plan was set to develop a new “easy to explore” heritage trail named The Castle Trail. The trail will employ various means, such as interpretative displays, visual art and written interpretation, to relate the Castle’s dramatic history.


Present Day Camping Site

Castle Saunderson opened its new 34-acre state of the art building in August 2012. The site now includes a camping area that can take up to 1,000. The camping grounds include all the required facilities for campers to have and comfortable exciting experience.

There are numerous places for campers to relax and socialize outdoors with a panoramic view of the campsites. All of this is available for a camp fee of just €5 per person per night.

Indoor accommodation is also available at Castle Saunderson, with sleeping arrangements, shower facilities, kitchen, dining hall, and a common room.

The site is also surrounded by forests containing numerous walking trails. In addition, guests have access to both a river and a lake which are suitable for water activities.


We have also visited a few other Castles that might catch your eye such as Enniskillen Castle and Castle Gardens Lisburn

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