Discover all you need to know about the wonderful Cahir Castle. It is one of Ireland’s largest and best-preserved castles. It stands proudly on a rocky island on the River Suir, Co. Tipperary. Standing tall, the castle appears to grow out of the rock, now situated in the town centre.
Cahir castle is well preserved and has a guided tour and audiovisual show in multiple languages. The castle tour will take you down spiral staircases as well as into the deep dark prison dungeons.
Cahir Castle guided tour
Learn about this 800-year-old medieval castle. Let the excellent tours guides tell of the legacy of the powerful Butler family which lives on in the tales of love, betrayal, murder and warfare.
The Authentic Interiors: This castle’s various tall towers, narrow corridors and winding staircases await your exploration. The centerpiece is the great hall, where the antlers of a giant Irish deer adorn the walls and period furniture adds to the medieval ambience. Enjoy views of the surroundings from the tower windows and the magnificent scenery along the river, which can be seen from the top of the well tower.
Cunning Defences: Cahir castle was cleverly designed to withstand attack from the enemy and to act as a safe place of residence for the family. Castle builders added many defensive features to make it a truly formidable fortress. Searching for these intriguing architectural features makes for an unforgettable experience.
Enjoy – passing beneath the spikes of a raised portcullis gate, one of the few working portcullises in Ireland. Spotting the machicolations, which were a deadly addition to the defences of the castle and a fascinating feature of its design. Also noticing the various styles of arrow loops set into towers and exterior walls around the castle – these allowed archers to fire at attackers from a position of relative safety.
Spot the cannonball – or, more specifically, culverin ball – embedded high in the wall of the garderobe turret in the middle courtyard. This was fired during the 1599 siege, when Robert Devereux, second earl of Essex, led Queen Elizabeth’s army against the castle. Don’t miss the siege exhibition, which features a superbly detailed model of the castle under attack.
An Audio-visual Treat
Enjoy tales of castles and conquests are many. In the castle cottage, our 15-minute audio-visual presentation, Cahir Castle and the Story of Irish Castles, brings you the enthralling story of the development of Irish castles. The commentary is available in Irish, English, French, German and Italian.
The Silver Screen
Cahir Castle has been used for filming many times. Ridley Scott film ‘The Last Duel’ staring Matt Damon and Jodie Comer was filmed in 2020 was one of many films shot here. Also see if you can spot locations and backdrops from your favourite shows and movies, from Excalibur to The Tudors.
When you leave the castle, why not visit the Inch Field public park located just outside the castle walls with its wonderful wooden sculptures. Maybe even see King Arthur’s sword, Excalibur, there or a fairy or two on the nearby Fairy Trail. If you fancy seeing a little bit more of our wonderful local scenery, why not take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque public riverside walk which leads to Swiss Cottage, just 2km away.
The history and name
Built in County Tipperary in 1142 by Conor O’Brien, Prince of Thomond, in 1375, the castle was granted to James Butler, newly-created Baron of Cahir, for his loyalty to Edward III. The Butlers of Cahir sided with the Irish in the Elizabethan wars, and in 1599 the castle was captured after a three-day siege by the army of the Earl of Essex and was for a year put under the charge of Sir Charles Blount.
During the Irish Confederate Wars the castle was besieged twice. In 1647 George Mathew, the guardian of the young Lord Cahir, surrendered to Lord Inchiquin following his victory at the battle of Knocknanauss. In 1650 he surrendered again to Oliver Cromwell, during his conquest of Ireland without a shot even being fired.
In 1961 the last Lord Cahir died and the castle reverted to the state.
The castle was built in two parts, with the side now by the street being built 200 years before the side now housing the audio-visual show.
Cahir Castle was built originally in the 13th century on a site of an earlier native fortification called a cathair (stone fort), which gave its name to the place.
Granted to the powerful Butler family in late 14th century Castle enlarged and remodelled between the 15th & 17th century. Fell in ruin in the late 18th century Partially restored in the 1840s Presently managed by Duchas.
Cahir Castle Top Tips
Make sure that you allow time to feed the beautiful geese and ducks on your entrance to Ince field at the car park side of the castle. A must see is the beautiful coronation walk, through the fairy trail to The Swiss Cottage . Take a stroll around the town and rehydrate, refill in one of the lovely café or restaurants that the town has to offer. Also don’t forget that you can partake in kayaking on the river Suir.
Paid car park on site.
Only a 30 minute drive from Corderry Farm.
Time to go discover
Cahir castle has lots to see and do and in fact has won the prestigious European Film Location Awards 2022 for the movie The Green Knight. Remember, get in touch if you have any questions and we will be happy to help.
Don’t forget to download our wonderful free Castle Guide below to discover any more wonderful castles!