The Earl of Antrim


Ranald Alexander MacDonald of Clanranald

The Right Honourable Alexander Randal Mark McDonnell,
Earl of Antrim and
Chief of the McDonnells of Antrim

Along the northeast coast of Ireland lies County Antrim, a wild, beautiful place, with natural wonders along the rugged shores. It is here the family draws its heritage from days of Sorley Boy and the title eventually bestowed.

The Earl of Antrim, Alexander Randal Mark McDonnell, was born February 3, 1935. His father was the 13th Earl of Antrim KBE.  His mother, Angela Christina, was a professional sculptor. She studied privately in Brussels and the British School in Rome. She held the distinction of being one of the youngest sculptors ever to exhibit at the Royal Academy. Also exhibiting in England and Ireland, her work was collected privately and by institutions. She also passed her talent and love of art to her sons. She died in 1984.

Lord Antrim attended Downside, a well-known Catholic boarding school in England. He went on to Oxford, studying history, then to Ruskin College (at Oxford) with a diploma in art. Melding the two fields, he went on to study art restoration in London under Professor Ruhemann at the National Gallery.

1969-71 found the then Viscount Dunluce as Restorer at the Ulster Museum, on to the Tate Gallery 1965-1975. He was Keeper of Conservation 1975-95. Director of Collection Services was added to his duties from 1990-95.

While the family uses their ancestral estate in Glenarm, Lord Antrim still retains the original castle, Dunluce. It is leased to the governing authorities for tourist management. There is some restoration construction at this time, and happily, with Lord Antrim’s supervision, the historic integrity of the architecture can be maintained.

Lord Antrim has two daughters and a son, Randal, the present Viscount Dunluce, by a previous marriage.

Lord Antrim met the former Elizabeth Sacher, daughter of the late Michael Moses Sacher, and married in 1977. She restored art until she became allergic to the chemicals necessary to her work. The Countess now uses her talents to restore dollhouses. They have a daughter. Lord Antrim has also been involved in other pursuits: Director of Ulster Television 1982-2000; Chairman, Northern Salmon Company, Ltd.; Member of the Executive Committee of the City and Guilds Art School. He enjoys painting and vintage cars.

Heir Apparent

Randal Alexander St. John McDonnell, Viscount Dunluce, is the Heir Apparent to his father Alexander. Born in 1967, Randal was educated at Gresham’s School in Norfolk after which he went on to study Modern History at Oxford University (Worcester College) from where he graduated with an MA. Randal subsequently embarked upon a career in the asset management industry and since 1998 he has worked at Sarasin & Partners LLP in London where he has been chairman of the Partnership since 2008. Randal is responsible for overseeing investment mandates some of the firm’s largest family relationships and charity endowments.

He is also a Non-Executive Director of various companies, including Aberdeen Standard Asia Focus PLC.

Randal married Aurora Gunn in 2004 and they have two children, Alexander (born in 2006) and Helena (born in 2008). The children are at school in England, but the family look to spend as much time as possible at Glenarm.

Randal was given responsibility for Glenarm Castle and its Estate by his father in 1992 when he was 25. Over that time, he has invested into the property and tried to put it onto a sustainable footing having nurtured various enterprises including: Glenarm Shorthorn Beef, Glenarm Organic Salmon, Glenarm Castle Walled Garden, Weddings, Events and Hydro-Electric power.