Friday, 20 July 2018

Le Duc on the Road - Part X(b) - Cahir Castle (the rest of it)

I teased with pics of the 15mm scale Cahir Castle siege diorama a few weeks ago; now, being the raging completest that I am, here's the rest of it.

The castle is one of the largest in Ireland, on an island on the River Suir in Tipperary, in Cahir town centre. It was constructed by Conor O'Brien, Prince of Thomond in 1142, and would become part of the Butler family estates (so called because they made a fortune handling the wine imports ('hic) and were of Anglo Norman descent,  and who would found the influential House of Ormonde, which would be influential when it all went pear shaped in the C17th).

The castle was sited on and near an earlier native fortification known as a cathair (stone fort), which gave its name to the place. Like most castles, there is a central ward/keep, then later outer walls were constructed.
Granted to the powerful Butler family in late 14th century, the castle was enlarged and re-modelled between the 15th and 17th centuries. It fell into ruin in the late 18th century and was partially restored in the 1840s.

Essex besieged it in 1599, before losing his head to Elizabeth's rage. Murrough O'Brien (Lord Inchquin - who, if I remember my history, changed sides 2 or 3 times during the English Civil War's resultant rebellion in Ireland - and was a distant relative of the castle's Norman builder) . It was surrendered to Cromwell in 1650.

Of note is the fact that parts of Excalibur were filmed here, as well as Barry Lyndon (before Mr. Kubrick was 'asked' to leave apparently...they were clearly turbulent times). The Tudors has also recently had parts filmed here. Not Game of Thrones however (probably too expensive for 'em when they can get cheap extras in N.Ireland grumble...grumble).

A scene from Excalibur. Along the same walls as above...

You can try getting in using this method, but to be honest, it's easier just to pay a few Euros ...

Outside the castle stands a fish statue. Now you see an ode to salmon. I clearly see an H.P.Lovecraft inspired idol to an ancient fish god!

Get on with it mate. This water's bleedin' well freezin!

There is a replica sword in the stone for Excalibur fans, and large grounds to keep the kids occupied.

 Outer ward from the entryway.

 Some massive vistas inside and a great tour. You can see why movie directors love it.

The rebuilt Great Hall.

The original keep, and there are excellent plans and sketches outlining the rebuild and original state of the building.

You can see why this place gets used for making movies.

One of only two working portcullises (portculli ? ) remaining in Ireland.

The 'kill zone' on the way in, with plenty of murder holes and offset arrow slits.

One of Essex's cannonballs, that remains lodged in the wall of the keep from 1599.

 Wonderful joinery. Clearly five axis machining at work here (ok - not the original).

 I made them an offer on the table. Excellent for gaming.

Nice architecturals on show throughout.

 The back of the pic above gets used by the 'Prussian Army' in Barry Lyndon. Now if this were Field of Battle, they would never move in such an orderly manner for me?!?!  Harummph.

 Classic view from the way in.

 ...right slap bang in the middle of the town...

A great visit and the castle is in superb condition; recommended - especially so when you consider the great diorama shown last time.

 'Are those buggers trying to get in without payin' Da?'
(I need very little encouragement to include pics of Cherie Lunghi - and yes, that bloke was in Star Trek.)


  1. Superb post - enjoyed it greatly. [Also learned a lot, but I'm just nodding quietly about that.] Could we provide a list of other places you could visit on our behalf? That would brighten a few more Saturday mornings too. I've seen Cahir a couple of times, driving back from Cork to Dublin airport when I used to do such things. I never had time to stop and look - in fact your post was also useful because it reminds me that I have the place more than a bit confused with Cashel, which I think was on the same drive.

    Excellent stuff, anyway - thanks.

    Cherie Lunghi is definitely worth special mention - apart from her other achievements, didn't she make instant coffee sophisticated almost single-handedly?

    1. Oh yes, all requests accepted. Kilkenny Castle is up next - and Birr Castle is next month. Something German might even be in my future if work decide to send me in the right direction... Kilkenny Castle also connected with the Butlers - who provide the C17th equivalent of an episode of Dallas.

      Yes - Cashel is around there too - must add it to the list.

      Cherie Lunghi also made management of a football team sophisticated, I seem to remember. She also has a very dodgy Irish accent in Excalibur for some wierd reason, but let's face it, that doesn't put me off.

  2. Nice post, the grounds are still in wonderful condition, no wonder location types are so fond of it. I keep learning things when I visit these pages!. Am I the only one that gets nervous walking under murder holes?.

    1. A great place and the murder hole and ambush area is quite scary. To quote the tour guide: 'modern military people would call this area a killzone'. After that, everyone moved on rather quickly.

  3. Replies
    1. Cheers Ray. The weather has been great recently, as opposed to the normal rain, so it certainly helped.

  4. Really enjoyed this, particularly the ties to Excalibur! The Elder Fish has me a bit worried though...

    1. Hi Doug. Yep - I'm a bit concerned too. Having tried a little 'Call of Cthulhu' over the years, every statue has its own story. Keep up the good work with your appearances on the Grogcast by the way. Really enjoy it.