Dominic West and Catherine Fitzgerald’s Irish Country Castle – “I was really struck by the romance of the place,” actor Dominic West remembers of the first time he visited Glin Castle, the centuries-old, 20,000-square-foot fortress nestled on a sliver of Ireland’s coast along the North Atlantic Ocean. It’s no wonder—he was attending the 21st birthday party of the woman, Catherine Fitzgerald, who decades later would become not only his wife but also his co-owner of the Glin Castle estate. That the historic home played an integral part in the couple’s eventual courtship was perhaps preordained. Glin Castle has been home to the Fitzgeralds, hereditary Knights of Glin, since the 14th century, and throughout its 800-year-history has played host to many an occasion for the long-standing Irish family. There were wars and weddings, feasts and famines, many births and many deaths, as well as both stretches of great prosperity that saw Glin Castle as a pillar of high society and periods when financial ruin saw it almost fall into decay. But, fast-forwarding through all of that to the present day, West and Fitzgerald now dedicate themselves to simply preserving the historic property—which they, along with Fitzgerald’s two sisters, purchased last year—as a retreat for their family and friends.
Though the couple lives in England with their children full time, they often visit the 18-bedroom, 18-bath Georgian house on weekends and holidays. When they don’t, they continue the home’s long lineage of welcoming a variety of guests through the castle’s gothic doors—like Taylor Swift, who reportedly rented the place for a Christmas holiday in Ireland. “My parents were part of the whole swinging-‘60s art scene in London and Dublin and they had friends in all kinds of worlds,” Fitzgerald says. “My dad would invite totally opposite people, like priests and poets and rock singers, all mixed up in a crazy hodgepodge. Everyone loved it.” One memorable weekend, she recalls, Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull came to visit the castle. Though they arrived together, Faithfull ran off with a friend of Fitzgerald’s father, Lord Rathmore. “She’s a great friend of ours,” says Fitzgerald, “but she left Mick Jagger at Glin Castle!”
Speaking of Fitzgerald’s father, he was primarily responsible for the castle’s interior design, though Fitzgerald and West are in the process of updating the décor for the 21st century. “As a museum curator, my father was arranging the furniture like a museum,” says Fitzgerald. “My contribution is to slightly relax it, to have some chairs where you can put up your feet around the fire so people can really feel at home and enjoy their stay.” Adds West: “Very little has changed. We’ve just replaced carpets and curtains, but the furniture is pretty much as my father-in-law left it. He was a collector of Irish furniture, and a lot of the furniture was made for the house so it’s been here for decades or centuries.”
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