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The Cahir Castle is one of the Best Medieval Castles in Ireland

During our visit to County Tipperary we could have not visited the town of Cahir located only a couple of kilometres from the Rock of Cashel. This place became a tourist magnet because of its well preserved medieval Cahir Castle.

If you remember, we already wrote about around ten different Irish castles but before our visit to the castle of Cahir we couldn’t recommend you a castle that on a 100% scale reflected all the important factors of a typical medieval castle.

Since some of them are quite small like Malahide Castle, and some, like the Ardgillian Castle, look more like the residence of nobility and others like the castles Dunluce and Trim are nothing but ruins.

Cahir Castle

But the Cahir castle, which this post is about, looks like it came straight from the pages of a history book. It gives you the feeling that all of a sudden a knight might just run through the gates or an archer might just pass by the window.

Everything in the Castle of Cahir, from its location to its fortification, is made on such a high level standard, that it even amazes those living in the 21st century. And this is including the fact that the main part of the castle was built in 1142.

Because of the way this castle is located on one of the islands of the river Suir it is very hard to get to it. Since there were pieces of mountain rock under the castle this made digging under the castle walls impossible. The flowing water surrounding it furthermore increased the protection of the castle.

Cahir Castle

So it’s fair that name of this castle translates as ‘The Stone Fort of the Fish’. It’s possible that there were lots of fish in the river at this time, since even now if you go from the castle in the direction of the Swiss Cottage you can find a special place for fishing.

The Cahir Castle started its second life as a fortified building in 1375, when for loyalty to the English crown Edward the 3rd passed it down to James Buttler along with the title of a baron.

Cahir Castle

Over the period of 220 years the castle was being renovated to modern standards, and was presented to us with its main tower, plus the six towers surrounding the fortified walls and a cage that can be lifted and lowered in front of the gates. In fact the cage was used as a trap for enemy forces because it was lowered after part of the enemy had passed the gates. To dispatch of the part that got thru there was a tower that stood over the gates from which you could soak them with tar or use arrows to tear them to pieces.

Only in 1599 did the English manage to take over this castle with the help of cannons. 50 years after this event (in the year 1650), during the time of the protector Oliver Cromwell, the castle of Cahir was surrendered without a fight and because of this we can view this great medieval castle.

Cahir Castle

At present three non-Irish films were shot in the Cahir Castle. These include the fantasy film ‘Excalibur’ (1981), about the legendary sword of King Arthur, the film ‘Barry Lyndon,’ in which the castle played the role of a German military encampment, and the film ‘Dutch Darkness’ (2010).

We’ll tell you about the interior of the castle when we visit it for ourselves. Sadly, when we arrived at the castle we had missed the tour and couldn’t go inside. But just so you know, the last tour of the castle begins some 45-mins before the closing time.

To be continued...

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John Mack
Cahir Castle

As Irish castles go, Cahir Castle, imo, has no peer and I've seen 'em all.


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