The Avenue from the riding house looking towards the main gate and courtyard
The Castle is not normally open to the public, as the son of the present Duke, Lord Burlington, and his wife, spends quite a lot of time in Lismore, and as the castle is an upmarket guest house for well-heeled guests (those who can spare about €35,000 for a week's full-board with the butlers on hand for a party of 12!) it is also not practical to have tourists tramping about the rooms. So this day is an opportunity to see a little of the interior and people travel from far and wide to enjoy the day.
The visitors have Devonshire Cream Tea in the Ballroom, which was formerly a chapel and is known as the "Pugin Room" as it was designed by Augustus Pugin, an architect and designer who also designed the Houses of Parliament in Westminister. A number of church and big house interiors have his signature wood panelling and furnishings. It is now used as a room for events like concerts, wedding receptions occasionally, and banqueting hall for large parties of houseguests. It has a marble fireplace which was originally built by Pugin for the Crystal Palace exhibition in London in 1851 and brought here after that was dissembled, with the addition of "Céad Mille (sic) Fáilte" written across the top (this means 100,000 welcomes in Irish.)
Various views of the castle from the courtyard
The Duke's main home is Chatsworth in Derbyshire, which is one of the great houses of England and a major tourist attraction, much more open to the public than Lismore Castle. Bolton Abbey is another of their houses, and I have never been to either place, but my son played cricket with the Lismore Cricket Team when they went to Bolton Abbey play the Duke's 11 some years ago, and had a chance to see both houses. Our sons have had summer jobs there as butlers over their student years as well, and were working there for the royal visit. They are extremely discreet so I never get any gossip from them, no matter how much I fish!
Enough potted history for now. Yesterday's event was practically fully booked, as the format was five groups of 60 max came at 80 minute intervals. They arrived via the Castle Avenue to the Courtyard and went to the Ballroom, where they had their tea, surrounded by the splendour of the stained glass windows and the Pugin-designed chandelier and wall lights.
I hope you like the photos and links and if you get a chance to come to Lismore you can visit the gardens from tomorrow until October when they will be open daily, minus the guided tour - you can get a brochure with identifiers for the trees and shrubs and history - and the Castle Arts Gallery which is in the renovated West Wing and has a different contemporary exhibition every summer. If you like weird and wonderful art - in a multitude of media from sculpture to video installations to technology installations - in a lovely setting then this one's for you!
The yew walk with the Gormley figure visible on the right half-way down