Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Strancally Castle, Co. Waterford

Located a few miles downstream from the towns of Lismore and Cappoquin, Strancally Castle sits picturesquely overlooking the glorious River Blackwater. The west Waterford landscape is adorned with many great houses, and Strancally sits comfortably amongst its contemporaries. The current castle is nineteenth century, but the estate is the site of a much older castle, dating from the Norman period. The castle is believed to have built by the Norman-Welsh invader, Raymond Fitzgerald in the twelfth century. This castle was certainly inhabited into the seventeenth century, and possibly later. By the nineteenth century Strancally had come into the hands of the Keily family. 

Like so many of the castle and houses featured on the blog thus far, Strancally can be described as a neo-Gothic style house. Built as a dwelling house, and with no serious defensive structures, the castle was erected c. 1830 by John Keily (?1765-1843). Keily had briefly served as MP for Clonmel 1819-20 but had not been returned in the 1820 election. He chose the Pain brothers, George and Richard to design his home. The house contained the usual neo-Gothic architectural accompaniments, bearing a striking similarity with Dromoland Castle, which the Pain brothers also designed. Keily not only owned the castle but also a sizeable estate, amounting to some 5,000 acres. Strancally remained in the hands of the Keily family until 1856, when it was sold to the Whitelock Lloyd family. The house is now privately owned by the Buckley-Allen family. 

Above one can see the River Blackwater with the remains of the original medieval castle to the right. Legend has it that the castle contained a famous 'murdering hole' in one of its bedrooms. This sinister device came in the form of a concealed trapdoor, which when opened would propel the victim directly to river beneath! 

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