This landlocked county is considered to be the heart of Medieval Ireland, boasting more than 5,00 years of folklore, culture, and history. Dotting the picturesque green landscapes, you’ll find battlefields, remarkable historic buildings, and places where heroes were created.
The low-lying hills and valleys make Tipperary a perfect place for hiking and biking without straining yourself too much. You’ll have a chance to get off the beaten track and into nature.
World-famous castles such as the Rock of Cashel and Cahir Castle make for some of the most fascinating places to visit in Ireland. In this post, we’ll show you not only those castles in Tipperary but five more of the most interesting Irish landmarks.
7 Castles to visit in Tipperary
1. Ardfinnan Castle
Originally built in 1185, Ardfinnan Castle is the sister of Lismore Castle and was built to guard the crossing of the River Suir at Ardfinnan and the northern border of Waterford. Like many castles in Ireland, Ardfinnan was seized by Cromwell’s troops in the Conquest of Ireland.
After troops spent three years in the castle, it was abandoned, leaving it to become a partial ruin. It was restored again in Victorian times, with the donjon of the castle being renovated in 1846. Nowadays, it is a country house, but the public is not permitted to enter.
When: 12th century
Open for Visit: Privately owned and not open for public viewing.
2. Cahir Castle
One of the largest and best-preserved castles in Ireland, the medieval Cahir Castle is located on a rocky island in the River Suir, giving the occupants a clear advantage when under siege from opposition armies. Construction began in the 13th century and continued for around 200 years.
Nowadays, the keep and most of its original defensive structure are still intact. While it may be beautifully preserved, you might be surprised to learn that it was captured three times in its history – although twice it surrendered without a fight. Cahir Castle is one of the best ways to experience medieval Ireland.
When: 13th century
Open for Visit: Yes. 09:30 – 17:30 from March to mid-June and September to mid-October. 09:00 – 18:30 from mid-June to August. 09:30 – 16:30 from mid-October to February. Closed from 24th – 31st December.
3. Kilcash Castle
Once one of the great houses of a branch of the Butler family, Kilcash castle is now a ruin near the village of Ballypatrick. Confederate Catholic commander Lord Castlehaven wrote his memoirs when he occupied the building.
For those looking for places to visit in the vicinity of the castle, there’s also the remains of a medieval church that has a Romanesque doorway. The ruins of Kilcash were made safe to visit in the 1980s after the building was partially repaired.
When: 16th century
Style: Medieval Tower House ruin
Open for Visit: Yes
4. Lackeen Castle
Situated three miles east of Lorrha village, Lackeen Castle is a well-preserved example of a medieval Irish tower house that was originally built in the 12th century.
It was rebuilt again in the 16th century; during the process, a 9th-century mass book called the Stowe Missal was found. It was written in Latin, and the manuscript was used by the Monastery of St. Ruadhan in Lorrha before being placed in the tower for safekeeping. The tower house has four storeys, and each has a fireplace.
When: 12th century
Style: Irish tower house
Open for Visit: Yes
5. Loughmoe Castle
Another typical Irish tower house, Loughmoe Castle was built near the village of Graiguefrahane. It was the seat of the Purcell Family, who were the Barone of Loughmoe, and construction on the first castle actually begun in 1328.
There is a famous legend around Loughmoe Castle and the surrounding lands. The castle was terrorised by a gigantic boar and sow that killed many people and wreaked havoc on the agriculture of the area.
The King of Ireland offered whoever slew such creatures the castle, the surrounding land, and his daughter. A youth called Purcell was successful and was gifted the castle. It is known as the “field of the reward”.
When: 15th – 17th centuries
Style: Tower House
Open for Visit: Yes
6. Rock of Cashel
Also known as St Patrick’s Rock or the Cashel of the Kings, this is not only one of the most popular and recognisable landmarks in Ireland, but the whole of Europe. It is located on an elevated limestone plane which overlooks the Golden Vale.
Legend has it that the rock was part of a mountain around 30km north of Cashel called the Devil’s Bit. In a battle with St. Patrick, the devil bit a chunk from the mountain and spat it to its current landing spot in Cashel.
It is one of the most important monuments to Celtic art and architecture in Europe and the former seat of the Kings of Munster. It’s also one of Ireland’s most popular castles.
When: 12th and 13th centuries
Style: Hiberno-Romanesque and Germanic
Open for Visit: Yes. 09:00 – 17:30 from mid-September to mid-October and mid-March to early June. 09:00 – 16:30 from mid-October to mid-March. 09:00 – 19:00 from early June to mid-September
7. Roscrea Castle
This 13th-century royal castle is located in the village of Roscrea. The original motte and wooden tower dates back to 1213, while the stone castle came a little later in 1280.
In the courtyard of Roscrea Castle, you’ll also find the Damer House, which was added at the beginning of the 18th century. This example of pre-Palladian architecture is an example of a Queen-Anne style house. Both of these Roscrea attractions together make for an excellent day out.
When: 13th and 18th centuries
Style: Medieval motte castle andPre Palladian Damer House
Open for Visit: Yes. 10:00 – 18:00 from late March to September.