Helen Leslie (née Strong) mother to Sammy and Camilla Leslie, was brought up in the tiny village of Wilviliscombe, Somerset. She was a primary school teacher for a short time before heading off to Gibraltar where she made a living 'procuring' whiskey and 'kindly delivering' it across the Spanish border. Later, on a skiing holiday in Kitzbuhl, Austria she laid eyes on the devastatingly handsome and 'dangerous' Desmond Leslie. Helen was advised by a mutual friend to steer clear of Desmond, because he already had a ‘100 volt wife and an exotic mistress – so you’re allowed just to look’!
They did however inevitably cross paths again, were married, and settled into a hectic social life in London. This was soon to be exchanged for Desmond's country seat in Glaslough.
Ever pragmatic, Helen mucked in and made the most of it. She began her 'business career' by inviting young European aristocrats to come to Castle Leslie Estate to ride and learn English. Helen then decided that other adults might also enjoy Glaslough, so she started the Equestrian Centre in 1974.
From the window in the Strong Room, there is a wonderful view of Glaslough lake. It has a relaxed Mediterranean vibe, decorated in a combination of cool and warm tones so reminiscent of the vibrant colours of the south of France, where Helen retired to and passed away peacefully in 2011. The soothing decor has helped gain Castle Leslie a reputation as one of the premier Castle Hotels Ireland has to offer.