Cahir Castle - Cahir
Chair Castle is located on a rocky island on the River Suir, northwest of Clonmel, in County Tipperary. This imposing castle is one of Ireland's oldest, largest and best preserved castles, and is a great example of a late Medieval Castle that has undergone extensions and alterations in the 15th to 17th centuries. The castle fell into ruins in the 1700's, was partly restored in the 1840's by the Cahir Butlers, by 1599 it looked pretty much as it does today. It underwent extensive restoration following its status as a National Monument in 1964. The castle was built to be impregnable, with layers of defences and this served the castle well for many years, unfortunately, heavy cannons found its weakness. In fact a cannon from a battle dating back to 1599 remains preserved in the wall of the northeast tower.
Part of the restoration process was the rebuilding of the faithfully reproduced portcullis, part of the castles defence mechanism. On the site you will find an inner ward where most of the buildings and towers are found, it was here that the most of the restorations were carried out. The middle ward and outer ward were later additions. It still retains its impressive keep and much of its original defensive structure, and there are lots of restored rooms to explore, most are empty with some containing items of furniture. The Great Hall frequently holds exhibitions, focusing on different aspects of Irelands history. There are a lot of stairs to climb during a visit from the well and dungeons up to the towers.
There is an excellent audio-visual show that tells visitors about the castle, it lasts about fifteen minutes. You can do a self guided tour of the castle but, to get the most from your visit a guided tour is recommended. The qualified guides really enhances a visit, they bring the castle to life through its history and will explain the various buildings and provide an insight into life here at the height of its use. A tour lasts about thirty to forty minutes. There are multi-lingual leaflets available, the history is recorded on display boards or there are staff available to answer any questions you might have.
Located on the grounds is Cahir Cottage, it was built for when the the castle underwent restorations between 1840-1846. It later became the family residence as it was far more comfortable than the castle.
Cahir Castle provides a well preserved castle with a long history, it makes for an educational and interesting visit. The grounds are pleasant with the stream running through and make a nice spot for a picnic.