A series by Paul Swift

The county Waterford town of Lismore is located on the south bank of the river Blackwater. Entry to the town is over the impressive Lismore Bridge. The current bridge was constructed in 1858 and incorporated fabric from an earlier bridge.

This cut limestone bridge has seven arches and was sponsored by the Duke of Devonshire. It was designed by Charles Tarrant the then County Surveyor for Waterford and built by C.H. Hunt and E.P. Nagle. Just below the bridge the river is joined from the north by the smaller Owennashad River.

Either side of the bridge on the southern bank can be found the wonderful Lismore Castle and St. Carthage’s Church of Ireland cathedral. Lismore Castle was built in 1185 by King Henry’s son Prince John as a sister castle to Ardfinan Castle on the site of Lismore Abbey. It was built to guard the river crossing.


The castle was a bishop’s palace until the 16th century when it then came into the possession of Sir Walter Raleigh. It was then sold to Robert Boyle, the first Earl of Cork, who arrived in Dublin from England in 1588. In January 1627 Boyle’s fourteenth child also called Robert was born at Lismore. He went on to devise ‘Boyles Law’ and is known as ‘the Father of Modern Chemistry’. In 1753 the castle passed to the fourth Duke of Devonshire whose family still own the castle.

Immediately east of the castle, separated by N72 road, is Lismore Cathedral. It is called after St. Carthage who founded a monastery, church and school at Lismore in 635. There has been a cathedral at the site since the middle of the 12th century.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own