Caisleán Loch Iascaigh aka Lough Eske Castle as we know it today was built in 1868 on the site of the old Brooke Mansion aka Lougheask – land that had historically belonged to the O'Donnells of Donegal.
The ruins of the original castle and bawn of the powerful 14th-century Ó Domhnaill (O'Donnell) clan stand nearby on Island O'Donnell (near the southern shore of Lough Eske).
From Brooke Mansion to Lougheask Castle
In 1607, following the Flight of the Earls, this area of Donegal was granted to Sir Basil Brooke during the Plantation of Ulster.
In the early 19th century, the Brooke family estates were inherited by Jane Grove who married Thomas Young of Lough Eske Manor (who changed his surname to Brooke as part of the deal). In 1846, Thomas Brooke commissioned a complete redesign of the existing manor house. This grand Elizabethan-style residence, designed by Derry architect Fitzgibbon Louch completed in 1868 which became known as Lough Eske Castle.
In 1894, Major-General Henry George White (1835-1906) purchased Lough Eske Castle from Arthur Brooke (a distant cousin of White's). His son, (then Captain) Henry Herbert Ronald White (1879-1939), and his new bride, Florence Arnott White (1879-1958) inherited the castle in 1906. In 1911, the couple commissioned the addition to the east end of the castle which included a ballroom, billiards room, and several bedrooms and bathrooms. They had two sons, Henry George Ronald White (1907-2005 USA) and John Maxwell White (1909-1988).
To put all this in context, Florence's father, Sir John Arnott, established Arnott's Department Store in Dublin in 1843, served as Mayor of Cork and as an M.P. circa 1860 and also owned The Irish Times newspaper.
From 1929, the castle became a guest house. In 1939, just weeks after Major Henry Herbert Ronald White died, the castle nearly burned to the ground. The castle was later sold was a guest house for a time until it the building fell into ruin falling into a state of complete ruin.
Lough Eske Caste today
Lough Eske Castle was lovingly restored in 2007 and is now a 5-star hotel as well as an award-winning destination resort, spa and wedding venue.
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