Famous Castles in ireland - Lismore Castle Waterford Ireland - owned by Duke of Devoshire

Castles to Stay in Ireland


Lismore Castle has a rich and varied history, owned or visited by some of the most notable names of the last few centuries — Sir Walter Raleigh, Fred Astaire, J.F. Kennedy, John Betjeman, Cecil Beaton, Dominic West, Lucian Freud. Earls, dukes and other royals; soccer stars and rock stars — the list is almost as long as Lismore’s history. 

The first owner was the soon-to-be King of England, Prince John, when he built Lismore back in 1185. On becoming monarch, he passed it to the Church to be used as a Bishop’s Palace — you can still see the old round tower, which dates back to the 13th Century. 

Then Sir Walter Raleigh, the Elizabethan adventurer who introduced tobacco to the English court, bought the castle. But 13 years later he was imprisoned for high treason in the Tower of London, and so Lismore, along with its 42,000 acres, got sold to Richard Boyle for a sum of £1,500. Richard later became the first Earl of Cork, and his son Robert Boyle, who was born at Lismore, became the philosopher that many consider the father of modern chemistry. 

As time passed, the lands passed to the fourth Duke of Devonshire. This was in 1753, after the Duke married Lady Charlotte Boyle, the heiress of the Earl of Cork. Lismore continues to be owned by the Duke of Devonshire’s family. 

It was the sixth Duke who undertook the most extensive restoration of the Castle, working with architects Joseph Paxton and Augustus Pugin. It was the ninth Duke who married Adele Astaire, Fred Astaire’s sister. The heir to the tenth Dukedom married Kathleen Kennedy, JFK’s sister. And so the list of names continues. 

Each generation has lovingly and extensively restored the castle, without ever losing its historic charm. For a long time the gates were open only to a select few, but now you can rent the whole castle on an exclusive hire basis, allowing private groups to enjoy staying in a castle in Ireland in an intimate setting, attended to by the Duke’s team of personal staff. 

Contact us to find out more for an Irish Castle stay: 
T. +353 (0)58 54288 
E. info@lismorecastle.com