Lismore Castle

Sporting activities or events Park or garden open Open for overnight accommodation with dinner Museum and/or art gallery Cultural activities or events Available for weddings Available for functions or corporate events Available as a film location

Lismore Castle, Lismore, Waterford, Ireland

t: +353 58 54288
f: +353 58 54896
e: education@lismorecastlearts.ie
w: http://www.lismorecastlegardens.com

The House

The original building at Lismore was Prince John's 'castellum' of 1190, which later became the palace of the mediaeval bishops.  In the last years of Queen Elizabeth the castle was granted to Sir Walter Raleigh by the first Protestant bishop, the convert Myler McGrath.

Raleigh amassed a 42,000-acre estate on the borders of Waterford and Cork, including the towns of Cappoquin, Lismore and Youghal, his Irish base. He fell from favour under James I and sold his estate to Sir Richard Boyle in 1602 for £1,500.

Boyle rebuilt the castle, joining the corner towers with gabled residential ranges to form a large and elaborate strong house with a central courtyard and a fine fortified gatehouse. The principal family apartments were perched precipitously on the edge of a cliff, high above the River Blackwater.

Lismore withstood a siege by the Confederates in 1642 but fell to Lord Castlehaven and was sacked in 1645. After the Restoration the 2nd Earl of Cork restored the castle but it was little used during the eighteenth century and largely unaltered.

In the early years of the 19th century the 6th ‘Bachelor Duke’ of Devonshire inherited Lismore and decided on major improvements. At first he employed William Atkinson to restore the river range but, a quarter of a century later, he began a more ambitious programme of work under the supervision of Sir Joseph Paxton, the highly innovative architect and engineer who designed the Chrystal Palace. Paxton had begun his career as the duke’s gardener and they developed a close working relationship, which developed into a friendship after his success.

Paxton rebuilt the remaining three sides of the courtyard in the Victorian ‘castle’ style, cladding them in imported Derbyshire stone and converting the bishops’ former chapel as a banqueting hall, fitted out by Crace, the London decorator, to a design by Pugin.

Richard Boyle (1566-1643) was perhaps the most successful Elizabethan adventurer in Ireland. He arrived in 1588 with twenty-seven pounds in his pocket, some good pieces of jewellery, several suits, a sword and a dagger, and an astonishing acumen for business.

Boyle's first wife died childless and royal patronage and an advantageous second marriage increased his political influence.  He amassed a considerable fortune and purchased his Munster estates at a considerable discount while Ireland was recovering from the Elizabethan wars.

Thereafter Boyle, or the "Great Earl" of Cork as he became in 1620, concentrated on securing and developing his estates, building up his fortune, and on his political career, eventually becoming Lord Treasurer of Ireland. 

His large family – he had 13 surviving children with his second wife, Elizabeth Fenton - was the foundation of a major dynasty. Their descendants include generals and admirals; architects, inventors, mathematicians, philosophers, physicists, scientists and writers; administrators, landowners, peers, politicians and statesmen.

His great-great-granddaughter Charlotte, wife of the 4th Duke of Devonshire and daughter of the architect Earl of Burlington, inherited Lismore in 1748. The castle is now the home of her descendant, William Burlington, son of the present duke, who lives at Lismore when in Ireland with his wife and family.

Information

Sporting activities or events

Park or garden open

Open for overnight accommodation with dinner

Museum and/or art gallery

Cultural activities or events

Available for weddings

Available for functions or corporate events

Available as a film location

Opening Hours

Lismore Castle Gardens

Lismore Castle Gallery

Open daily from March 17th - September 30th

11.00 am - 4.45 pm 

Last entry 4.00 pm