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McCartney-Watchers Camp at Castle

An international media horde gathered Thursday at a remote Irish castle hotel, where the owner announced that Paul McCartney and his fiancee, Heather Mills, would have their wedding reception next week.

“We are told vaguely it is next Tuesday, but it is all secret. I have to keep it dead-secret,” said Sir John Leslie, owner of Castle Leslie, an offbeat luxury hotel in County Monaghan bordering Northern Ireland. “They might do something at the last minute or change it. You never know.”

Leslie, 84, sporting a green beret with a peacock feather, added that McCartney had visited the hotel last year “and he had a look around. They are very nice grounds, there are terraces going down to the lake a mile long, and boats on the lake.”

The hotel, heavily refurbished from its castle origins three centuries ago, boasts about 1,000 acres of grounds and a helicopter landing pad – but no phones, clocks or televisions in its 14 rooms.

Preparations for an exclusive, secretive wedding bash were evident inside the Castle Leslie grounds.

Three large tents for outside dining were set up, though barely visible from the road. As uniformed security staff barred journalists from entering, caterers and electricians arrived with crates of food and floodlights, while locals swept the streets.

McCartney, 59, and Mills, 34 – a model who lost a leg in a motorcycle accident nine years ago – met at a charity function, where she was raising money to oppose the use of land mines. The couple announced their engagement last July.

Earlier this week, British newspapers reported that McCartney and Mills would wed at the Long Island, New York, home of John Eastman, brother of McCartney’s late wife, Linda, who died of breast cancer in 1998.

McCartney and Mills have offered no detailed comment on their wedding plans. The musician’s publicist, Paul Freundlich, said only that the wedding would not take place in Manhattan.

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