Lismore is renowned for its early ecclesiastical history and the scholarship of Lismore Abbey. But Lismore is better known, and dominated by Lismore Castle, probably one of the finest looking castles in existence.

The imposing Lismore Castle, situated on the site of the old monastery since medieval times, lies on a steep hill overlooking the town and the Blackwater valley. It can trace an eight-hundred-year-old history linking the varied historic relations between England and Ireland. Originally built following the arrival of Henry II's son, Prince John, in the twelfth century, the castle was a bishop's palace up to the sixteenth century. Subsequently owned by Sir Walter Raleigh until his demise, it was sold to Richard Boyle, controversial First Earl of Cork, described by historian R. F. Foster, in his Modern Ireland, as an "epitome of Elizabethan adventurer-colonist in Ireland". In 1627 the castle was the birthplace of the First Earl's most famous son, Robert Boyle (of Boyle's Law), known as the "Father of Modern Chemistry". Boyle was chased off his lands in Ireland during the Irish Rebellion of 1641, following which his sons recovered the family estates after suppression of the rebellion. The castle remained in the possession of the Boyle family until it passed to the English Dukes of Devonshire in 1753.

Today the castle continues in the private ownership of the Dukes of Devonshire who open the gardens and parts of the grounds for public access via a changing programme of local arts and education events. The Book of Lismore is on display at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, England and the Lismore Crozier is in the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.

The medieval Lismore Cathedral, dedicated to St Carthage, variously damaged and repaired over the centuries, is notable for its architecture and the stained glass window by the English pre Raphaelite artist, Edward Burne-Jones.

"Lismore castle really is something special - but you can only look from outside. It's a private palace. But looking back from the bridge is a photo opportunity that you must take. There is a lovely walk called Lady Louiss's walk along the river and through the small village of Lismore - but mostly we go through and take pictures on our way to The Vee and Cahir." - Martin



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