Cahir Castle, County Tipperary

Cahir Castle, County Tipperary

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Cahir Castle, one of the largest castles in Ireland, is sited on an island in the river Suir. It was built in 1142 by Conor O'Brien, Prince of Thomond. Now situated in Cahir town centre, South Tipperary the castle is well preserved and has guided tour and audiovisual shows in multiple languages.

In 1375, the castle was granted to James Butler, newly-created Earl of Ormond, for his loyalty to Edward III. 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 staunchly 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 a distant cousin James Prendergast, in a dispute over an inheritance.
 
During the Irish Confederate Wars the castle was besieged twice. In 1647 George Mathew, the guardian of the young Lord Cahir, surrendered toMurrough 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 hisconquest of Ireland without a shot even being fired. In 1961 the last Lord Cahir died and the castle reverted to the Irish state.

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