Dreaming of a fairy tale castle for the setting for your wedding day? The idyllic Lough Eske Castle is a venue unlike any other. Lough Eske is one of my favourite places on earth and I chose the venue for my wedding in 2015 (view my wedding here). We caught up with the wedding team at Solis Lough Eske discuss why they believe it has tons of charm. Plus, we share our unmissable photo locations for amazing wedding day photos.
Tell us about Lough Eske – what makes the hotel a popular choice with couples for their wedding day?
Lough Eske Castle is located just outside Donegal Town on a beautiful lakeside estate surrounded by the fabled Blue Stack Mountains. With stunning views amidst 43 acres of unspoilt woodlands, providing you and your guests with a spectacular and unique backdrop, it is the ideal venue for your fairy-tale wedding. Lough Eske Castle is the only 5 star hotel in the northwest region of the Wild Atlantic Way and consists of 96 beautifully appointed guest rooms, our awarding winning Spa Solís, Cedars Grill Restaurant and the relaxed Gallery Bar.
What makes the venue different from other hotels?
The team at Lough Eske Castle are really what makes the venue one of a kind – the way you feel when you are here, truly makes you feel special. The team are constantly but discretely assisting you and your guests. You feel you are the king and queen of your domain, your castle, your big day. Memories, which we will help you create here, will last forever
What wedding options are available at the venue?
There is no specified minimum number of guests you may invite to your wedding at Lough Eske Castle. Whether you have 2 or 300 guests, let the magic of Lough Eske Castle contribute to perfecting the most memorable day of your life. This allows you the flexibility to create a personalised wedding package using suggestions from our sample menu or your own ideas. Lough Eske Castle is a licensed venue for civil ceremonies with a choice of beautiful rooms. You can exchange vows at the outdoor Rockery Garden (weather depending) or use our elegant Ballroom, which is versatile enough to accommodate everything from the simplest to the most elaborate theme.
How do you ensure couples get the wedding of their dreams?
The wedding team at Lough Eske Castle really get to know the bride and groom through the planning process and go into great detail with each couple for their big day. Every wedding is different and being part of bringing a couple’s vision together and helping them celebrate with their family and friends is a fantastic experience. As the couple’s wedding gets closer we are constantly in touch with them offering expert advice from start to finish, ensuring all the finer details are in place, in order to make their whole experience as enjoyable and effortless as possible.
What tips would you offer couples to ensure a stress-free wedding?
When it comes to planning remember about three things: trust your suppliers – they all are here to make sure your day will go smoothly and delegate tasks for the day. A lot is happening on your wedding day and it is easy to let the trivial things upset your day. Make use of your bridal party in the lead up to your wedding to help take the stress off you and also give the groomsmen jobs on the day like paying suppliers or organising family for photographs. And the last thing – it’s all over so quickly so enjoy every moment of it.
What is the most unique wedding day request you’ve ever honoured?
To be honest, most couples are very rational when it comes to their wedding. Their main concern is that guests enjoy themselves. In saying that, we had a garden fete themed wedding party that built a teepee at the front of the castle. We were able to accommodate such a request as they had exclusive use of the castle for their special day. We also recently had a military wedding from the USA, who had a memorable civil ceremony at the Rockery Garden, and the groom also surprised the bride with an eight piece military band on the day.
TOP PHOTO + VIDEO LOCATIONS FOR YOUR LOUGH ESKE WEDDING DAY
The Castle is nestled in a beautiful forest on the banks of Lough Eske just outside Donegal Town. I’ve been blessed to capture weddings at the castle and I’ve hosted a number of workshops for photographers there. There are a range of churches nearby including a beautiful church at the end of the drive and a number of churches in Donegal Town. Many travel from the surrounding areas and you can also hold your service in the castle. Here are just a few of my favourite locations for your Lough Eske Castle wedding.
If travelling from Derry direction the bridge on Barnesmore Gap is a real favourite of mine. It looks amazing whatever time of year it is and I chose to stop here on my own wedding day.
Biddy O’Barnes is a pub close to the turnoff for the castle. It can be a fun stop for a photo with a pint of Guinness and the river there looks beautiful.
If coming from Sligo direction or from Donegal Town Murvagh Beach is also a beautiful stop off and the forest there can be fun to explore. Check out Moira and Tomás wedding film with footage from Murvagh.
Close to the hotel is an inlet by the shores of Lough Eske that provides beautiful views across the lough.
Arriving at the Castle the cottage at the bottom of the drive provides great views of Lough Eske and the little house is quaint and a cool backdrop for photos. It has recently been sold so I’m not sure what the access will be there in the future.
The drive leading up to Lough Eske is a great spot and to the sides there are a number of rustic areas with stone ruins.
In front of the Castle is a must for a WOW shot of the venue.
In and around the castle there’s some great locations, before your wedding explore the grounds to find some of the hidden gems.
At the back of the reception area there’s an area which offers another option if you don’t want to venture too far and it’s a great place for your guests to relax before and after dinner.
The staircase and interior of the Castle are perfect if the weather isn’t good as there are so many options to choose from.
Inside we tend to shoot a lot of details of the day.
I hope you enjoyed this guide to your Lough Eske Castle wedding. It’s an amazing location for a wedding and I always look forward to capturing weddings there. If you’re having a Lough Eske Castle wedding please drop me a line! Happy wedding planning!