The owner of Skyrne Castle feared people were dying after hundreds partied at an illegal rave


The owner of the chateau where hundreds of people partied at an illegal St. Stephen’s Eve rave told The Sunday World he fears a repeat of the Stardust tragedy.

Derek Iceton, owner of Skyrne Castle in County Meath, said he scoured the large estate the following morning fearing he would find bodies in the ditches.

The 1981 Stardust tragedy claimed 48 lives after a fire at a Valentine’s Day nightclub.

He discovered two very scared young girls clinging to each other in the toilet after everyone had left.

He said there was an appalling lack of leadership from the gardaí who showed up in the night and the first garda he met told him the best thing he could do was “Go hide you”.

And he criticized the actions of the gardaí since the event saying, almost three weeks later, they still have not spoken to his farm manager, one of the main witnesses to what happened .

And we can reveal that Dublin’s top DJ, Ryan Redmond, was the man spinning the records that night.

Punters paid €70 per person to be transported to the rave in a fleet of taxis, and tickets cost €40 each.

Iceson also recounted how he and his staff then filled a 16m dumpster with abandoned items in the night as revelers rushed out after he heroically confronted them.

These included knives, small and large bottles of laughing gas that ravers inhaled for a short-term high.

A still shaken Derek said: ‘I have a tenant in the castle and he sublet it for what was supposed to be an Airbnb booking he didn’t know what it was really for he wasn’t there the night and why it was, he thought it was a legit booking.

“I believe the Garda Pulse report on the incident shows that 12 gardaí were tasked with the incident, including an inspector.

“At night, the first garda who spoke to me advised me to go into hiding and from that moment I knew that my wife and myself, as well as Ivan the director of the farm, We were alone to handle this.

“Now it’s a very old building, so packed that you wouldn’t put a single sardine in there anymore. With people smoking in there, I was petrified that the whole place was going up in flames .

“I’m hesitant to compare it to the Stardust because people have lost loved ones there and I don’t like to bring back bad memories, but honestly that’s the comparison that crossed my mind, the thought that we might have another Stardust on our hands.

“I walked in and blew them away saying the ERU was on their way and so was the narcotics squad and that saw them heading for the exit and I managed to get them out.

“Four of the sturdiest guys were the last to go and one of them tried to come back but I blocked him. For a moment I thought there was going to be a fight but he went. is distant.”

He said: “I then decided to check everyone had left and was shocked to find two girls shaking in fear in the toilet and took them to safety.

“When everyone left, that was the next time we saw a garda and it appeared that two gardaí had in fact been sent to the scene and the other ten were preventing more traffic from entering at a junction a kilometer away.

“It would have made more sense if most of them had been at the castle itself, as the last gateway was the only way in for anyone.

“I’m going to say it just as loudly, in my opinion there was a distinct lack of leadership among the gardaí at night and certainly 100% they let us do the job of shutting down the gig and getting drunk and drugging the people, all alone.

“I couldn’t sleep that night, probably because the adrenaline was still rising but also because I was worried about what I might find when I woke up.

“So I took my dog ​​and walked around the hedges and ditches to make sure there were no bodies there.

“People might think it was an overreaction, but believe me it wasn’t, I knew everyone had left the building, some of them in a really bad way, that What I didn’t know until I did this check was that they were all gone from the domain.”

A Garda spokesperson said in a statement: “An Garda Síochána attended an incident in Skyrne, Co Meath on 26 December 2021.

“As this matter is still under investigation, no further comment can be made at this time.”

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