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May 16, 2012
From journal County Wexford as a Home Base
March 28, 2007
Cahir castle was once the stronghold of the Butler family and is one of the best preserved in Ireland. It was built in 1142 by the O'Briens but went to the Butlers by appointment of King Edward III. The castle is situated on a small island on the river Suir. Part of the reason for the good state of preservation is that it was often surrendered without a battle, reducing damage to the walls.
The visitor center has a good media presentation of the history of the castle and the surrounding area. Start with the presentation to get some background, then walk through the castle, climb the walls and towers, and visit the tower dungeon and cells. There is a murder hole over the entrance way that you can climb up to. Large rocks, boiling oil or other unpleasantries were dropped on undesirable visitors. The castle is very intact, solid, and well maintained. Some of the rooms have weapons displays with their names and history. All in all an interesting visit and well worth the time and small cost.
The castle is easy to find as it is in Cahir city center. Parking is mostly along the street. Some of the shops in the immediate vicinity are amusing as the items are so stereotypically Irish tourist crap. You'll see stuffed leprechauns, tacky (literally sticky) blackthorn sticks and shamrocks everywhere. The castle requires some walking to get around, so be prepared for physical effort.
Use the Heritage Site card for cheaper access to this and other historic sites. They should sell the card there if you don't already have one. It pays for itself quickly with only a few visits to sites on their list. You'll get a booklet of sites and you might want to take a look at it first to see if you intend to visit enough to make it worthwhile. Their site is at www.heritageireland.ie
From journal Co. Tipperary