‘Oldest raver’ had local connections

The late Sir John Leslie    Picture: Helen Sotiriadis

The late Sir John Leslie Picture: Helen Sotiriadis


ONE of Ireland’s last surviving Second World War veterans, whose family were landlords in the border village of Pettigo, has died aged 99.
Sir John Leslie, the 4th Baronet of Glaslough and Pettigo, passed away at his home on the Castle Leslie Estate on Monday. 
Describing his full life, his family said: “He served with the Irish Guards in World War II. He was an active Knight of Malta, art connoisseur, water colourist, ecologist, disco dancer and restorer of historic buildings.”
Born in New York on December 6th 1916, he moved back to Ireland at the age of three. Known as ‘Uncle Jack’, he famously celebrated his 85th birthday in Ibiza and revealed to the media that the wedding of Sir Paul McCartney to Heather Mills was taking place at Castle Leslie in 2002.  
As well as their ancestral seat in Co. Monaghan which is now a five star hotel, the family also owned lands in Pettigo since the 1600s. 
Their main home was ‘The Palisades’ on Main Street. One of the most notable members of the family was Sir Jack’s father, the writer and Irish nationalist, Shane. His friends Sir Winston Churchill and Queen’s Victoria’s son Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught were frequent visitors to the property. 
Pettigo Mill was also built by the Leslie family. Powered by the Termon river, it first appeared on the map of Pettigo dated 1767, but probably is much older. After the arrival of the railway in Pettigo, which opened in 1860, Pettigo Mill was a saw mill as well as a grain mill. 
Castle McGrath, built in the 1600’s and home to Bishop Miler McGrath was another part of the family’s estate. The castle featured an escape tunnel leading to the Belaut River. It was besieged and captured during the 1641 Rebellion and abandoned soon after. The castle and lands were sold to the Leslie family who controlled the Pettigo estate until the early 20th century.

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