Quirky is the word for Castle Leslie Estate in Monaghan—near the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland—where rooms are arranged at the end of higgledy-piggledy corridors and long flights of stairs. The winding layout and overstuffed armchairs in the lobby make the vine-swathed, 19th-century castle feel like a family residence—and it feels even more homey when you see the castle’s nonagenarian owner, Sir John Leslie, Fourth Baronet (or Sir Jack to guests), chatting with visitors in his pajamas around midday.
There are a thousand acres to explore, three lakes to row around, forests to get lost in, streams to follow, and horse trails to trot along (starting in the equestrian center and livery near the main house). So at the end of the day there’s nothing left to do but sit by the fire and engage Sir Jack in a long chat. Rooms are scattered throughout the estate: in the castle, of course, but also in the former hunting lodge, stable mews, and village cottages.