View of Lismore Castle from the east, across the River Blackwater. The castle, surrounded by trees, is perched on a rocky hill, dominating the river. A low round structure with conical roof stands on an outcrop to the left. A boat is seen sailing across the water. The image emphasizes the sheer drop from the castle to the water, and the massive masonry which supports it.
Inscribed in Image
|Subject(s)||Antiquities and archaeological sites, Architecture, Forts and fortifications, Nature|
|Keywords(s)||Archaeological sites, Boats, Buildings, Castles, Cliffs, Construction, Mansions, Rivers, Towers, Trees, Windows|
|Dimensions||10.4 cm x 16.9 cm|
|Published / created||1801|
|Travel Account||Sketches of some of the Southern Counties of Ireland|
|Print or manuscript|
|Location of image in copy||opp. p. 184|
|Source copy||National Library of Ireland THOM 91414|
This is a link to a digital copy hosted by an external website.
|Rights||Courtesy of the National Library of Ireland|
Related text from travel account
|Five miles from Castle Lyons, we entered the county of Waterford. The beauty of the scenery surrounding Lismore is captivating. I know of no spot where the admirer of the picturesque will be more highly gratified than in this grand mixture of the sublimity of nature with the stupendous works of man. On entering Lismore, the travelled is struck with its venerable castle, lifting its high embattled towers in a kind of melancholy grandeur, bordering on sadness; the antient avenue, whose tall dark trees shed a gloom over the outer gate-house, gives its neglected front a deeper and more solemn shade. On the angles are ruined towers of prodigious strength, in the same roofless state that the wars of 1641 left them. Within the great gate-house there is a spacious court; on each side are the ranges of offices belonging to the castle, which faces the entrance, and forms a [p. 184] parallelogram. Over the gate-house are the arms of the first Earl of Cork, who beautified and enlarged it. Descending on the eastern side to the bridge, we were charmed with its grand elevation; the north front rising from a perpendicular range of wooded rock, overhanging the Blackwater. Imagination cannot paint a more romantic scene. The broad and placid river, from which, on the left, arise lofty and richly covered rocks, to a fearful height, crowned with nodding groves, in some parts ranging down from the steep summit, cast their green branches in the stream; while, in others, they are separated by the jutting heads of moss-clad rocks, whose variegated sides of grey and spangled brown, contrast in a lively manner with the varied foliage. Over all, the ivied windows and pointed turrets lifting themselves high above the trees, which half disclose their antique casements, finish the picture to the left. On the right the shores are diversified by wood [image] [blank] [p. 185] and lawn, and behind opens a deep and thickly wooded glin, through which a small river, called Oon-a-shad, winds into the Blackwater; to the west, the salmon weirs traverse the river for a considerable way, and form several agreeable falls, the soft lulling sound of which greatly heightens the beauty of the whole.
The castle was built by king John, in 1185, was demolished by the Irish, who [p. 189] surprized it, 1189, slaying the garrison, with Robert Barry the governor. After it was rebuilt, it continued to be the residence of the bishops, till the time of Miler Magragh, who with the consent of the dean and chapter, granted it with some lands to Sir Walter Rawley, at the yearly rent of 13£ 6s 8d; soon after it came into the hands of Sir Richard Boyle, who purchased all Sir Walter's lands, and who beautified and enlarged it considerably. At the breaking out of the rebellion of 1641, it was besieged by 5000 Irish troops, commanded by Sir Richard Beling; but was bravely defended by the young Lord Broghil, third son to the Earl of Cork, who obliged the Irish to raise the siege; however it did not long continue in the Earl's possession, being taken by Lord Castlehaveny, 1645.
James II. dined in the great room, and going to look out of the window, started back in terror from its precipitate elevation above the river. One does not, on entering the cas- [p. 190] tle, perceive it to be situated so high; nor can they suspect the perpendicular steepness of its rear. One of the rooms is celebrated for giving birth to the great Robert Boyle.
This noble pile is now in the possession of his grace the Duke of Devonshire, whose agent resides here, and has made many alterations and repairs; but with so little taste and adherence to the great original, that I am confident were the Duke to see them, his Grace would feel a sensible regret, and instantly order these unworthy repairs to be replaced by others more conformable to the antient style of the building.
The great flanking square towers are still roofless, except where the venerable and lofty ash trees fling their shady branches over their walls and form a verdant canopy. This magnificent castle, at an inconsiderable expence, might be renovated and rendered one of the most respectable baronial dwellings, perhaps, in Europe; as a picturesque object it cannot [p. 191] be excelled. The bridge is a fine structure, consisting of one great arch of about 109 feet in the span, over the main part of the river, and of six smaller ones underneath the causeway on the north side; these last are intended to carry off the floods, which in autumn swell this river very considerably. To the munificent and public spirit of the present Duke of Devonshire, the county stands indebted for this noble bridge, erected at his Grace's sole expence. It remains a most honourable testimony of a princely liberality and true patriotism.