Burntcourt Castle,
County Tipperary

The magnificent shell of this great 17th-century embattled house derives its peculiar name from being burnt by the Parliamentary army on their march to Cahir in 1650. Cromwell himself mentions stopping at the "stronghouse called Clogheen, belonging to Sir Richard Everard", though there is a tradition that Lady Everard set fire to it prior to his arrival. This gave rise to an old rhyme saying, "It was seven years in building, seven years in living and fifteen days in burning." Sir Richard Everard - a distinguished Catholic Royalist and leading member of the Kilkenny Confederation - was hanged by Ireton in 1651, and his castle, quaintly referred to as "Burnt-Clogheen" in an inquisition of 1693, was never rebuilt.

The stronghouse was erected on lands granted to Sir Richard Everard by Charles I in 1639. A datestone recording the building's completion in 1641 was once placed over one of the doors, but now is inserted in the wall at the entrance to the nearby farmyard. That year Sir Richard and his family left their old ancestral castle at Ballyboy to take up residence at their splendid new home. Known at the time as Clogheen, it was one of the largest private dwellings then built in Ireland and comprised a centre block of two storeys over a raised basement with a gabled attic and four gabled corner towers - the whole building having no less than twenty-six gables. The large number of regularly disposed two-and threemullioned windows gives the building a quiet, residential air, but its basic design is defensive, notably the use of corner towers, which permits flanking fire along each face of the house. There are pistol loops in the jambs of the back door opening out of the kitchen in the south end, and also in the front entrance on the west side, which has a nicely cut hood moulding with celtic motifs around it, very similar to Monkstown Castle, County Cork.

During the 18th century the artist Anthony Chearnley built a two-storey, five-bay gable-ended house in the bawn and laid out formal gardens outside the bawn wall. A number of engravings, based on drawings by him of Burntcourt, show the ruins as they are now, except that the chimney stacks were then complete.

14 km (8.5 miles) SW of Caher and 6.5 km (4 miles) NE of Ballyporeen. NGR: R 951181.