As part of our 20th dativersary celebration, we spent a long weekend exploring the west of Ireland, returning to some places we’d been before, and discovering new ones along the way.
One of the truly remarkable things about a country this size is the time it takes – or rather, doesn’t take – to get anywhere (unless, of course, you find yourself going through a series of weather-related detours; in that case, best of luck to you). Since it was only going to take two hours to get from our home in Dublin out to Dromoland Castle in County Clare, we decided to take a detour en route and stop in at Cahir Castle. You see, we’ve tried visiting Cahir before, back in 2009 during our first trip to Ireland, but due to a major storm that was wreaking havoc on the island, the River Suir had jumped its banks and flooded the surrounding area. As such, the castle was closed and we had driven out of our way for nothing. Despite the fact that this has been a wet winter and most of the rivers are running high, we knew that Cahir was open so it wasn’t too much of a hardship to take the planned detour. After a quick(ish) drive, we pulled into the same parking lot that had halted our visit last time. Luckily for us, the sky was bright and sunny. Well, at least for the next fifteen minutes.
About Cahir Castle:
An imposing 13th-15th Century structure, Cahir Castle was designed by Conor O’Brien to be a state-of-the-art defensive castle. Appearing to grow from the actual rock on which it stands, the castle has been the scene of sieges and bombardments for centuries. The powerful Anglo-Norman family, the Butlers, came into the possession of the castle in 1375. The castle was captured three times in its history: it fell to Devereux, Earl of Essex, in 1599 after it had been battered for three days with artillery; it surrendered without a fight to Inchiquin in 1647; and again to Cromwell in 1650. Over the centuries the Butlers considerably rebuilt and extended their stronghold. However, by 1599, the castle had reached its present appearance, with the only subsequent alterations taking place in the 1840s. In 1961, the last Lord Cahir died and the castle reverted to the State. The castle retains its impressive keep, tower and much of its original defensive structure.
We spent about an hour between watching the video introduction (yes, we’re those people) and climbing incredibly steep, narrow, and wet staircases to venture into all the various nooks and crannies of the castle. One we were inside the fortified walls of the castle, the rain started pouring making the adventure a bit more precarious than we had initially intended. We definitely had to hold on to various walls and handles as we went up and down lest we slip on the slick surfaces.
Once we were done wandering around the castle, we went across the street to have a bowl of soup and a really terrific scone before jumping back in the car and driving on to Dromoland, our home for the weekend.