Glenveagh Castle

Church Hill, Gartan Mountain, Co. Donegal

Completed in 1873, for John George Adair (1823-1885) and his American wife, Cornelia Wadsworth (1837-1921). "Black Jack" Adair was a detested Irishman who orchestrated the Derryveagh Evictions and made a fortune in land speculation while the rest of the population suffered during the Potato Famine. He grew on his fortune by investing in ranches in the States before returning to Ireland with his American wife - who in stark contrast to her husband proved to be extremely popular - and commissioned his first cousin (John Townsend Tench) to build them this castle in what is now Glenveagh National Park. Covering an estate of 28,000-acres, it was purchased in 1929 by another American, Harvard Professor Arthur Kinglsey Porter who with his wife divided their time between here and Elmwood in Massachusetts....

This house is best associated with...

John George Adair

"Black Jack" Adair, J.P., of Glenveagh Castle, Co. Donegal


Cornelia (Wadsworth) Adair

Mrs Cornelia (Wadsworth) Ritchie, Adair, of Glenveagh Castle, Co. Donegal


Arthur Kingsley Porter

Arthur Kingsley Porter, Professor of Fine Arts at Harvard University


Lucy Bryant Wallace

Mrs Lucy Bryant (Wallace) Porter


Arthur Porter was a popular and understated archeologist who was also Harvard's Professor of Fine Arts. He summered here for four happy years before mysteriously disappearing in 1933 having last been seen in a little boat in which he usually went fishing off Inishbofin Island near Connemara. His distraught widow later said, "I think my husband must have slipped off the cliffs, fallen into the sea and been carried away". 

Mrs Porter never returned to Glenveagh and from 1933 rented it for the summer seasons to one of her late husband's friends, Henry Plumer McIlhenny (1910-1986), the Chairman of the Philadelphia Museum of Art who Andy Warhol famously said was, "the only person in Philadelphia with glamour". He came here frequently up until 1982, four years before his death. In 1974, he sold much of the estate to create Glenveagh National Park and in 1979 gifted the castle and gardens to the nation with a caveat that allowed him to live here for the remainder of his lifetime. Today, it serves as the visitor center for the park.

You May Also Like...


Contributed by Mark Meredith on 20/12/2020 and last updated on 02/01/2021.


Be the first to connect to this house. Connect to record your link to this house. or just to show you love it! Connect to Glenveagh Castle →