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Huntington Castle and Gardens at Clonegal
A crocodile’s head greets visitors to Huntington Castle at Clonegal. But don’t imagine the trophy was bagged by a man. Intrepid Nora Parsons shot it in India in 1903 when she was just 16 years of age. She later became a world-renowned salmon fisher.
Lord Esmonde may have built the castle in 1625, but it’s the women of this home who have left some of the most colourful impressions, as family descendants will tell you.
Lord Esmonde’s first wife, Ailish O’Flaherty, set the tone: a notorious, free-spirited Catholic and granddaughter of Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley. And the ghost of the grand 18th-century matriarch Barbara St Ledger is still seen wandering the castle’s oak corridors.
Surpassing all, Nora’s daughter Olivia began her own religion in the 1970s – the Temple in the castle dungeons is active to this day, celebrating the “Divine Feminine”. What else?