BW 20 The Boyles of Lismore

Dec 01, 2021, 06:12 PM

Direction: South west over the N72 blackwater bridge
Location: Lismore, Co. Waterford
Coordinates: 52.141127, -7.93067

Richard Boyle came to Ireland from England in 1588 with only twenty-seven pounds in capital and proceeded to amass an extraordinary fortune. After purchasing Lismore he made it his principal seat and transformed it into a magnificent residence with impressive gabled ranges each side of the courtyard. He also built a castellated outer wall and a gatehouse known as the Riding Gate. 

The principal apartments were decorated with fretwork plaster ceilings, tapestry hangings, embroidered silks and velvet. It was here in 1627 that Robert Boyle The Father of Modern Chemistry, the fourteenth of the Earl's fifteen children, was born. The castle descended to another Richard Boyle, 4th Earl of Cork & 3rd Earl of Burlington, who was a noted influence on Georgian architecture (and known in architectural histories as the Earl of Burlington). 

Lismore featured in the Cromwellian wars when, in 1645, a force of Catholic confederacy commanded by Lord Castlehaven sacked the town and Castle. Some restoration was carried out by Richard Boyle, 2nd Earl of Cork (1612-1698) to make it habitable again but neither he nor his successors lived at Lismore. The castle (along with other Boyle properties - Chiswick House, Burlington House, Bolton Abbey and Londesborough Hall) was acquired by the Cavendish family in 1753 when the daughter and heiress of the 4th Earl of Cork, Lady Charlotte Boyle (1731-1754) married William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire, a future Prime Minister of Great Britain & Ireland. Their son, the 5th Duke (1748-1811) carried out improvements at Lismore, notably the bridge across the river Blackwater in 1775 designed by Cork-born architect Thomas Ivory.