Fodor's Expert Review Lismore Castle and Gardens
As you cross the bridge entering Lismore, you spot the magnificent Lismore Castle, a vast, turreted building atop a rock overhanging the River Blackwater. There has been a castle here since the 12th century, but the present structure, built by the 6th Duke of Devonshire, dates from the mid-19th century. The house remains the estate of the Cavendish family, and most of it is not open to the public. You can see the contemporary-art gallery, designed by Cork architect Gareth O'Callaghan, in the west wing, as well as the upper and lower gardens, which consist of woodland walks, including an unusual yew walk said to be more than 800 years old (Edmund Spenser is said to have written parts of The Faerie Queene here), certain months of the year. The gardens have an impressive display of magnolias, camellias, and shrubs, and are adorned with examples of contemporary sculpture.