Ormond Castle

Displaying features of both Plantaganet and Tudor architecture, the Castle served as a residence for the Butler family in Carrick on Suir from the early 1300s until it was deserted in 1688. The site of the Castle was first built on in 1309 by Edmond Butler, Earl of Carrick, and the remains of its two towers are still to be seen rising up behind the Elizabethan manor. But it is for the magnificence of the 16th Century structure, and the events surrounding its construction, that Ormond Castle is well known.

From Gloominess to Grandeur

"Black Tom", 10th Earl of Ormond, built the mansion in 1565 in which he hoped, it was said, to entertain Queen Elizabeth. The Castle has steep gables, beautiful mullioned windows and was decorated on the interior with oak panels, carved limestone and elaborate stuccowork plaster. It was in many ways in direct contrast with the structure that had preceded it; austerity gave way to elaboration, and the concept of defence was forgotten. The new Castle was designed to be admired. The very fact that Thomas could build such a structure was testament to the security he felt in both financial and military terms.

Suggestions in the Décor?

One of the more interesting features of the decoration of the building are the less-than-subtle references made to the Queen in the plasterwork and paintings. There can be seen in one decoration the letters "T.O." (Thomas Ormond) and "E.R." (Elizabeth Regina), and it was no secret amongst the gentry that the Earl wished to make Elizabeth his wife. This idea, it seemed, appealed to her, and she fondly called Thomas her "black husband". Rebellion, however, was to break out in Munster and Elizabeth never visited the Castle that Ormond had, apparently, so lovingly created for her.

Restoration and Conservation

The Ormonds abandoned the Castle as a residence in 1688, but it remained structurally sound until 1947, when it was taken into the care of the state. Restoration of the building was then undertaken, the most spectacular results of which are the spacious long gallery and the front façade of the mansion.

Ormond Castle is now under the control of the Office of Public Works, and is open for visitors from June to September.

Sources - Bassett, "County Tipperary"; Maher, "Ormonde Castle, an Anthology"

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User contributions:

By mkarnold | 2013-09-04 18:21:14

Anne Boleyn's grandmother

Margaret Butler, the daughter of the 7th Earl of Ormonde, was Anne's grandmother, not her mother as stated. Her mother was Elizabeth Howard. Margaret Butler was the mother of Thomas Boleyn.