Cahir Castle

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Cahir Castle
Arms of the O'Briens
Near Cahir in Ireland
Cahir Castle, Tipperary County, Ireland (6961416840) (2).jpg
Location in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Cahir Castle
Location in Ireland
Coordinates52°22′28″N 7°55′38″W / 52.3745°N 7.9272°W / 52.3745; -7.9272Coordinates: 52°22′28″N 7°55′38″W / 52.3745°N 7.9272°W / 52.3745; -7.9272
Site information
OwnerOffice of Public Works
Open to
the public
WebsiteHeritage Ireland
Site history
Built13th Century
Built byO'Briens
In use13th Century-1800s
Battles/warsCromwellian Conquest of Ireland
Exterior of Cahir Castle
Exterior walls
Walls and demesne

Cahir Castle (Irish: Caisleán na Cathrach), one of the largest castles in Ireland, is sited on an island in the river Suir. It was built from 1142 by Conchobar Ua Briain, King of Thomond. Now situated in Cahir town centre, County Tipperary, the castle is well preserved and has guided tour and audiovisual shows in multiple languages.[1]


The castle was sited on and near an earlier native fortification known as a cathair (stone fort), which gave its name to the place. The core structure of the castle dates to construction in the 13th century by the O'Brien family. 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.

Granted to the powerful Butler family in late 14th century, the castle was enlarged and remodelled between the 15th and 17th centuries. It fell into ruin in the late 18th century and was partially restored in the 1840s. The Great Hall was partly rebuilt in 1840.[2]


In 1375, the castle was granted to James Butler, newly created Earl of Ormond, for his loyalty to Edward III.[3] His son James, the second Earl (by his second marriage) passed the lands around the barony of Iffa and Offa West to his children, though they were not themselves noble. This changed by 1542 when the first of the Barons Cahir was created. Unlike their Anglican kinsmen, this branch of the Butler dynasty sided with the Roman Catholic Irish in the Elizabethan wars. 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. Lord Cahir joined with the Earl of Tyrone in 1601 and was attainted for treason, but later obtained a full pardon. In 1627 the castle was the scene of a celebrated killing when Cahir's son-in-law, Lord Dunboyne, murdered his distant cousin, James Prendergast, in a dispute over an inheritance: he was tried for the killing but acquitted.

During the Irish Confederate Wars the castle was besieged twice. In 1647 George Mathew, the guardian of the young Lord Cahir, surrendered to Murrough O'Brien, 6th Baron Inchiquin (later 1st Earl, and a descendant of Cahir's builder) 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.[2]

In 1961 the last Lord Cahir died and the castle became the property of the Irish state.[citation needed]

Protection and tourism[edit]

In the late 20th century the castle was named a National Monument, and is now managed by the Office of Public Works, who maintain the castle and operate tours.

In 1998 the site was used as a location for Saban's Mystic Knights Of Tir Na Nog on Fox Kids. The interior shots of the Abbey in the 1973 television film The Conflict, sometimes referred to by the alternate title Catholics, starring Martin Sheen and Trevor Howard, were filmed at the castle. In 1981 it was used as a location for a battle scene in the film Excalibur.[4] The castle was also used as a location for television series The Tudors. In 2021, it was used as a location for films The Green Knight and The Last Duel.[5]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Heritage Ireland: Cahir Castle. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  2. ^ a b Cahir Castle, Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  3. ^ Cahir Castle, Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  4. ^ Filming locations for Excalibur, Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  5. ^ "Matt Damon, Jodie Comer and Adam Driver pictured on film set in Tipperary". The Journal. 20 September 2020. Retrieved 30 September 2020.