Lismore Castle, county Waterford
I have visited the town many times, a farmers and craft market is held each Sunday morning just outside the gates of the Castle, there is also one of Ireland’s best rural arts galleries here.
The town is the location of Lismore castle and it’s one of Ireland’s longest standing building, of it’s kind.
Its described as follows below:
Lismore castle : Early history
The castle site was originally occupied by Lismore Abbey, an important monastery and seat of learning established in the early 7th century. It was still an ecclesiastical centre when Henry II, King of England stayed here in 1171, and except for a brief period after 1185 when his son King John of England built a ‘castellum’ here, it served as the episcopal residence of the local bishop. In 1589, Lismore was leased and later acquired by Sir Walter Raleigh. Raleigh sold the property during his imprisonment for High Treason in 1602 to another infamous colonial adventurer, Richard Boyle, later 1st Earl of Cork.
Boyle came to Ireland from England in 1588 with only twenty-seven pounds in capital and proceeded to amass an extraordinary fortune. After purchasing Lismore he made it his principal seat and transformed it into a magnificent residence with impressive gabled ranges each side of the courtyard. He also built a castellated outer wall and a gatehouse known as the Riding Gate. The principal apartments were decorated with fretwork plaster ceilings, tapestry hangings, embroidered silks and velvet. It was here in 1627 that Robert Boyle The Father of Modern Chemistry, the fourteenth of the Earl’s fifteen children, was born. The castle descended to another Richard Boyle, 4th Earl of Cork & 3rd Earl of Burlington, who was a noted influence on Georgian architecture (and known in architectural histories as the Earl of Burlington).
Lismore featured in the Cromwellian wars when, in 1645, a force of Catholic confederacy commanded by Lord Castlehaven sacked the town and Castle. Some restoration was carried out by Richard Boyle, 2nd Earl of Cork (1612-1698) to make it habitable again but neither he nor his successors lived at Lismore.
The Dukes of Devonshire
The castle (along with other Boyle properties – Chiswick House, Burlington House, Bolton Abbey and Londesborough Hall) was acquired by the Cavendish family in 1753.
The daughter and heiress of the 4th Earl of Cork, Lady Charlotte Boyle (1731-1754) married William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire, a future Prime Minister of Great Britain & Ireland.
Their son, the 5th Duke (1748-1811) carried out improvements at Lismore, notably the bridge across the river Blackwater in 1775 designed by Cork-born architect Thomas Ivory.
The castle’s gardens are open to the public and feature contemporary sculptures, including works by Anthony Gormley, Marzia Colonna and Eilís O’Connell. The upper garden is a 17th-century walled garden while much of the informal lower garden was designed in the 19th century.
You can visit the Gardens of the Castle during the summer months for a fee of €8 and they are wonderful.
Gallery of Lismore
For the best views of the castle itself you need to cross the river and enter the fields below the castle on the other side of the bridge crossing the Blackwater river.
I spent a couple of hours in these fields just walking along the river and taking some photo’s of the castle above me, its just a wonderful spot to sit down and watch the fish jumping and the Herons hunting for fish in the river.
The Images Below are just some that I took, I hope they have captures a sense of this place…..