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Bedrooms 12   Bathrooms 12
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Lismore Castle

County Waterford, Ireland

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Many prominent people have been guests in these rooms, including Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackery, President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy, Fred Astaire (whose sister, Adele, was married to Lord Charles Cavendish) and, more recently, Prince Charles and the Duchess of York.

The present Duke of Devonshire is Peregrine Andrew Morny Cavendish, 12th Duke of Devonshire.

This spectacular castle has over 8000 acres, extending along the Black water Valley and across the rolling wooded hills up to the peak of the Knockmealdown Mountains. You can see it all from the castle windows. WOW!

The castle is in the pretty Heritage town of Lismore and it feels as if it's part of the community, not separate from it. One enters the castle grounds along a tree-lined avenue and then, through a wood door to the grassy area in front of the castles front door. Step into an enormous high-ceilinged hall.  It has a fireplace that's always lit and a large table that holds a vase of flowers from the castle gardens. There is a long drinks table, a sofa and several comfortable chairs facing the fireplace, many antique tapestries.  One wall has a bifurcated staircase that goes up to a bedroom wing.  There are portraits on the walls; among them, one of Robert Boyle, who was born at Lismore in 1627 and became known as the “Father of Modern Chemistry” for, among other things, inventing the scientific method and for proving that air is necessary for all life.

Two very large drawing rooms are just beyond the great hall.  They have been a gathering place for family and friends over the centuries and it's quite emotional to stand there and feel that you are sharing in that experience.

The first drawing room has a large black marble fireplace, two long, comfortable, old sofas, several overstuffed easy chairs, a quaint needlepoint chair, many books, old and new and a TV.  Tabletops hold family photos and mementos, including an antique desk clock in a leather folding case.  A desk and chair face a window at the back of the property.  A colorful Oriental rug is laid over Berber carpeting.  Stone walls are covered with rich tapestries and some framed flower prints which were painted by Lady Emma Tennant, the 12th Duke's sister.  Tall mullioned windows, two with a window seat, overlook the River Black water, which runs right below the castle, and the acres of meadow and woods that extend to the Knockmealdown Mountains.


That drawing room leads to a second drawing room, a bit larger than the first, which is furnished in a similar manner with cherished personal possessions collected over the centuries. There are two large sofas, a big round ottoman covered with books and a long upholstered ottoman in front of the beige sofa.  There are five easy chairs and a beautiful red-patterned rug.  An antique secretary holds many photos of family and friends.  There are Chinese vases, ancestors' portraits, glass-fronted cases filled with books, a second antique desk with two chairs covered in rust-colored upholstery.  In front of a large bay window, there is a round table to seat 8 on red velvet chairs.  The bay window is known as the 'King James' window because, while visiting in 1689, King James approached this window, but startled back when he saw the depth below. Off this sitting room is a room for playing cards and board games.  A smallish square room with windows looking to gorgeous views, it is furnished with an antique card table and four upholstered chairs.  There is a desk-table that holds more photographs, cases filled with books and board games, a few arm chairs. Walls are hung with impressive black and white paintings by David Nash. Back to the large entrance Great Hall, go across to the Dining Room.  It has a long antique table that seats 24 comfortably.  There is a very large and ornate stone fireplace, a serving table, walls paneled in oak, odd and wonderful paintings including a very dreamy seascape.  Large windows look down to the river.

Next is the gigantic banquet hall, seating 75 that is used only for large receptions.  It was designed by Pugin, who designed the English House of Commons, and the banquet hall's design is that of a miniature House of Commons.  It has a large stone fireplace and a gigantic chandelier, both in the medieval style, and two large stained glass Gothic windows, a musicians' gallery and a highly-decorated ceiling. .

Two guest powder rooms are near the dining room and the banquet hall.

Down a few steps from the banquet hall, there is a children's dining room where children can have meals separate from parents who may be dining too late for the little ones.  It's a large and friendly room with table and chairs, high chairs, a fireplace, vintage Shell Oil posters, games.  A nearby small kitchen is where these children's meals are prepared.

Back again in the front Great Hall, a long hallway called the Bachelor Passage begins and passes by the games room, on the right. The walls of this hallway are filled with many recent paintings, all wonderful, some incredible.  The owners have been collectors for generations.  Their in-house gallery rivals most commercial galleries.

The first room off the Bachelors' Passage is the Duke's Study.  Bookcases are filled with books.  There is a big octagonal table with chairs, all covered with books.  Other chairs have books piled on them.  There is a fireplace, a desk in front of a large window, wing chairs, a wonderful, old battered leather easy chair covered with an alpaca rug, and more impressive art work.  High-speed Internet is located in this room.

Continuing down the Bachelors' Passage, the next room is the BACHELOR BEDROOM.  This lovely bedroom has antique oak twin beds each with an antique Battenburg lace bedspread.  A beautiful table is between the beds.  There is a Victorian fireplace, a desk and an occasional chair covered with needlepoint fabric, a blue wing chair with a fleur de lis design.  Wallpaper is a beige-brown-gold) design.  A beautiful Oriental rug is laid over beige carpet.  The walls hold several paintings by British artist John Napper.

The large en suite bathroom has a long, deep claw foot tub in the center of the room and a separate modern shower stall in a corner, homage to present-day needs.  There is a double sink, a wide wardrobe, an upholstered chair, a dressing table and an old-fashioned toilet.  Many framed needlepoint and cross stitch pieces hang on the walls and there is fabulous Klimpt-style embroidery on one wall.

DOCTOR'S BEDROOM is smaller than most of the others and it's very lovely.  It has a standard double oak bed with a scarlet cover, beige-tan-coral wallpaper, a chest of drawers, a large wardrobe, a Victorian tiled fireplace, a desk and chair that face the river and the mountains.  Traditional art hangs on the wall.  A door opens to a marble sink – sort of a sink in a closet.

This room has a private bathroom that's a few yards further along the hallway.  It has a long, deep tub with a hand-held shower, a sink, and an old-fashioned toilet, blue and scarlet wallpaper that has a modern design. There is a "king's chair" and several photographs depicting Lismore's history; among them, a group photograph that includes King Edward VII that was taken during his visit to the castle in 1904.

At the end of this hall, a left turn takes you to another hall and stairs that go up, but, first, go straight ahead into the largest bedroom in the castle, the LOWER TOWER BEDROOM.  It has a wider-than-queen bed with a fleur de lis maroon bed cover, a chest of drawers, a tall floor mirror.  A big octagonal writing table in the center of the room holds books, photos, pens, paper.  There is a fireplace in the corner and ancestors' portraits hang on the walls as does a rather flamboyant wallpaper with red and olive tones. Two enormous windows give wonderful views up and down the river and away to the hills.  It's a beautiful room.

The adjacent bathroom has a long, deep tub with a hand-held shower, a corner shower stall, an old-fashioned toilet, a double sink, rusty-rose leaf design wallpaper, framed mirrors and beautiful art on the walls.

The UPPER TOWER BEDROOM is up the stairs.  It is a large room with a queen half-tester bed.  It's all goldish.  A red chair sits on a beautiful Oriental rug that's laid over beige carpet.  An octagon writing table, with four chairs, holds books and periodicals.  A dressing table is in front of large windows that look onto the grounds and out across the river to the mountains.  Many fine tapestries and ancestors' portraits hang on the walls. There is a serene and private atmosphere in this room.

The large en suite bathroom has a long, deep tub with a hand-held shower plus a corner shower stall.  There is a beautiful table and a chair upholstered in white cotton.

The Burlington Wing contains the BURLINGTON BEDROOM.  It is a long bedroom with a king bed, a chest of drawers, an armoire, a desk with many books piled on top, a beautiful writing table, a lovely rug and a standing mirror.  A sofa is in front of Gothic windows.  Wallpaper is a red/green/turquoise design.

The large en suite bathroom has long deep tub and a corner shower stall, a double sink, a wood stove, two chairs.  Wallpaper is gray-green and beige.  A large window looks onto the river and the back of the property.

BROGHILL BEDROOM is beautiful and warm, a bit smaller than the others.  It has a king bed, a chest of drawers, a writing table, a large wardrobe, a large window that looks to the Knockmealdown Mountains. There are only two paintings in this bedroom, but they are beautiful.  The en suite bathroom has a long deep tub and a separate shower stall.  It is crisp and white and sunny.

BOYLE BEDROOM has a king bed with a gray and beige bedspread, a Victorian fireplace, a large antique wardrobe, a writing table and chair and a dressing table.  Wallpaper is gold, rust and tan.  There are many sepia prints of Irish scenes. Which are very beautiful.

The en suite bathroom is as large as the bedroom! It has a long, deep tub in the middle of the room and a separate shower stall.  Wallpaper is tan and brown and the rug has a beautiful peony design.

The remaining bedrooms all are off the Duke's Landing which is on the other side of the castle, to the left of the entrance Great Hall and up the bifurcated stairway.

The DUCHESS' BEDROOM is where Prince Charles and Camilla stayed.  It is a large, sunny room that has a wider-than-usual queen bed with a Gothic-style headboard and a hand-embroidered bedspread.  Window covers have the same beautiful embroidery.  There are two large Gothic-style wardrobes, a desk, and a dressing table, a Victorian tiled fireplace that has an electric stove insert, two easy chairs, and a red rug.  White walls display many interesting engravings.


The en suite dressing room has a chaise longue, an antique wardrobe, a chest of drawers, a standing mirror, and superb drawings of horse racing.  Windows look to the river and cows and hills.  The en suite bathroom has a long, deep tub with a separate shower stall. Next door, THE DUKE'S BEDROOM has an oak king bed, a dressing table, a desk, a floor mirror, light blue walls, blue carpet and many historic watercolors of the castle.  This is a bright and pretty corner bedroom.

The en suite bathroom has a long deep tub with a hand-held shower set in front of a window that overlooks the river.  A separate shower stall is in the corner. There is a large wardrobe, great sconces, a beautiful rug, flower paintings. The large DRAWINGS BEDROOM has a king bed, a chest of drawers, a wardrobe, a chaise longue and a desk in front of windows that overlook the castle grounds.  Many pen and ink portraits hang on the walls that have beautiful gray and rust patterned wallpaper.

The en suite bathroom has a long, deep tub in the middle of the room and a separate corner shower stall, a double sink, a chaise longue, a dressing table, a fireplace.  Gray-green display many photos of people who have been part of the castle's history. THE QUEEN'S DRESSING ROOM is down the hall.  It is smaller than the other bedrooms on the Duke's Landing and very charming and intimate.  It has a king oak bed, a desk in front of a window, a Victorian tiled fireplace, an antique armoire.  There are many beautiful old prints on the walls and an Oriental rug in shades of red and coral and rust.  In the hallway, there are displayed some finely detailed watercolors by Lady Emma Tenant circa the 1990s. They are delightful.

THE QUEEN'S BEDROOM has brass twin beds and a large table between them.  There is a dressing table, a tall secretary, a Victorian tiled fireplace, several chairs in red, a red carpet, strawberry wallpaper.  Windows look onto the fields and the hills beyond. More of Lady Tenant's botanical watercolors hang on the walls.

The Queen's Bedroom's en suite bathroom is called the “Fred and Ginger Bathroom” and it's a departure from the other rooms' design.  It has a long, deep mirrored bathtub, but no shower stall.  There is a glass table; snappy silver and beige wallpaper, many photos of Fred and Ginger, and Fred alone, dancing.  This room is fun!

An adjacent hallway bathroom has a tiled shower stall.  This bathroom serves Fred and Ginger Bathroom when one wants to shower instead of bathe in the mirrored tub.

Back down on the main floor, walk along a hallway with walls that are covered with photographs of various and unexpected subjects.  Off this hall, the snooker room has a big snooker table.  There are two white sofas, vintage travel posters and a fireplace.  A door off the snooker room leads to a smaller games room with a foosball table and a pinball machine.


Next to the snooker room, the TV room has a TV and DVD player, an enormous bean bag chair, two sofas, chairs, posters, books. This is perfect for the kids to use when they don't want to be with the grownups (and vice versa).

This castle is not a museum or a hotel.  It is a family home.  Guests are invited into a private world.  Personal objects, photographs, books, paintings, a note half written, a walking stick perched in a corner, a pair of eyeglasses on a shelf provide an intimacy that reminds us that real people live here.  Furniture and other decor are changed at the Duchess' liking and may not be exactly the same as our photos show.

Since 1620, there has been a garden here.  It is one of the oldest gardens in Ireland.  Today, seven acres of gorgeous gardens retain much of the original design.  The upper and lower gardens are bordered by a high wall and a raised terrace with four turrets built in 1631.  Camellias, rhododendrons and magnolia flourish. There are lush and fragrant rose gardens, bulbs, herbaceous borders.  An orchard, a vineyard, an herb garden and a kitchen garden are all part of the grand design.  Garden sculpture is placed here and there.  Vases of flowers are placed in every room of the castle and there have been many lavish weddings and banquets.  Always, the flowers are from the Lismore garden.

In July, 2008, the Devonshire family opened a state-of-the-art contemporary art gallery in the long derelict west wing of the castle.  It is now a series of light filled rooms of varying sizes, designed to accommodate art works in all media.  The gallery's design cleverly incorporates some of the castle's original features, allowing the visitor glimpses into its 1000-year history.  There is one major exhibition each year, as well as a program of tours, workshops and other arts-related events.

This is not a self-catering property.  The castle is rented with full staff under the Butler, all supervised by the Estate Manager.  The staff prides itself on the high level of service and cuisine which is exactly the same standard as when the Duke of Devonshire and his family are in residence.  Breakfast, afternoon tea and evening meal are included.  Wine can be brought by guests or purchased on their behalf by the staff.  Lunches and picnics can be organized for you.

Telephone is charged by meter.  Mobile (cell) phones work well on the grounds and in most of the rooms.

Baby-sitting can be arranged. Irish folk musicians, massage, yoga, helicopter transfers, private driver (car or minibus), garden tours, gallery tours, history tours, archery, clay pigeon shooting (and nearly anything else you can think of) can be arranged for you.

There is a hard tennis court in the garden.  Salmon fishing can be arranged on the River Black water, directly below the castle, which is one of Ireland's premier salmon rivers.  There is a 9-hole golf course on the estate and several fine 18-hole courses in the area.  Riding can be arranged as can fox hunting (in season).  There are race courses within easy reach.  The castle is ideal for weddings of up to 80 guests and is often used for family reunions or small business gatherings.

Located about midway between the cities of Waterford and Cork, the castle is set on a hill above the charming Heritage town of Lismore.  Waterford is 44 miles/70km.  Dublin is 130 miles/208km.  Cork City is 38 miles/60km.

Local Favorites
Favorite Local Restaurant
Name: Restaurant Q82 @ Quealys Bar
Type of Restaurant: Contemporary
Type of Food: Irish
Unusual or interesting place in the area
There is always something to do in Lismore. There are plenty of places to eat out and enjoy some local music. You can visit local craft shops or watch, and even take part in, some of our local sporting activities. You can also take a trip to view the delights of Waterford county and the counties of Cork and Tipperary. Crafts Lismore is well served by craft workers and you will find examples of fine work as you travel around the area. The "Craft Shop" at the Heritage Centre has a fine range of Irish pottery, crafts and souvenirs. There is also a tourist information desk located here. Alison Trigg's area of expertise is hand painted plasterwork. If you would like to learn about pottery a visit to Glencairn Pottery would solve the problem. Eating Out At what ever time of day you decide to eat you will find a suitable place in Lismore. For breakfast you can choose either Lismore Hotel or The Red House. For lunch the choice is Eamonn's Place, The Red House and Lismore Hotel. Evening meals are catered for by Ballyrafter House Hotel, Lismore Hotel, Eamonn's Place, The Red House and Glencairn Inn. You can get a coffee and a sandwich anytime in the West End Bar while the town also has some fine "Take Aways". Music Lismore is famous for music and entertainment. Choral and other music works are performed at St Carthage's Cathedral. The West End Bar, The Red House, The Castle Lodge, and Ballyrafter House Hotel all have regular musical events including traditional Irish music. At Lismore Hotel there is regular evening entertainment and a Night Club. Sport Lismore has everything for the sports enthusiast. The Blackwater river which flows through the town is visited by anglers from throughout the world. Trout and Salmon are the main species of fish to be caught. Day licenses are available. A fine nine hole golf course provides ample opportunity to while away the hours and finish off the day with a drink in the club bar. Ireland's national games of Hurling and Gaelic football are catered for by Lismore GAA Club with fine facilities on the Tallow road. Lismore Association Football Club looks after the interests of the townsfolk who play the game of Soccer. The Community Centre provides the opportunity to play Indoor Soccer, Badminton and Basketball. There is swimming facilities available at the "River Pool".
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