Just about a mile off the Clonmel to Dungarvan road, at the border between Tipperary and Waterford counties, stands the most loved and visited castle in the area.
The castle is located in the beautiful mixed woodlands close to the Glenary River, a tributary of the River Suir. Centuries ago the place was known as Glenabbey. It was a small monastic site that belonged to the Cistercian monastery in Innislounaght, Clonmel, but was abandoned in the 16th century as a result of the Dissolution of the Monasteries initiated by Henry VIII. The ruins of the old buildings and walls can still be seen.
After the monks moved out, the site was granted to Edward Gough, an alderman of Clonmel. There is no record that something remarkable had been happening in the site during the next 200 years, but in the beginning of the 19th century the Carey’s castle was built. At that time, the site was the property of the Carey family, the wealthy schoolmasters who loved history. It is believed that they were the ones who built the castle, because it is a mixture of architectural styles and eras. You see an ancient Irish Round Tower, medieval Norman hall, Romanesque arches and Gothic windows. There was also a walled garden facing the river.
The Careys sold the site in the 1840s when they emigrated to Australia. The next owner was Colonel Nuttall Greene, who soon became bankrupt, and his property was sold off in the Estates Court. The site was abandoned and became derelict.
I always thought this building was an ice house, but now I know it is a chapel :). I love to receive feedback and learn new things.
This is the other side of the chapel and the path that approaches the site from the east.
This is the path you would walk on from the parking lot after you take a right turn down the hill. The main path continues straight through the woods. It is also beautiful and worth to explore.
This is what you see when you walk down that path. In summer, the view is obscured by the tree branches.
Here the path makes a loop and returns to the woods. A different view from this point. On the right, you see the walled garden.
All the parts of the path are mystically beautiful. You see many ancient ruins who knows how old.
Glenary River is a treasure itself. Quite deep in some places, she even hosts fish. Local teenagers come for a swim in the icy-cold pool, just five minutes walk to the east from the castle.
I walk along the Glenary River out of the woods to the main road. It is quite dark here, and suddenly there is an opening between the trees, and the sheep appear like pale ghosts out of nowhere, startling me.
I hurry up, and in a couple of minutes the sun is shining again, and there are no ghosts anymore. Thistles and Foxgloves are stretching tall to get out of the thick wall of nettles guarding an old farmstead.
I take some pictures of the gate and old roof, and walk to the parking lot.
Carey Castle is a unique place, open to everyone. How sad it is that people leave all their litter there after having picnics and walking their dogs. Once a year, a local Slovakian/Polish family hosts a Gulash Party in the castle grounds. A huge saucepan of stew is cooked, and families with children stay in the site all the day, and some even over night, sleeping in the tents. Everyone can come if they are well-behaved 🙂 Before the party begins, the hosts are combing the area and picking up all the rubbish left there during the rest of the year. After the party, the place is tidied up again.
There is another Carey’s Castle in the world, a cave-like dwelling in the end of a magnificent trail at the South-West corner of Joshua Tree National Park, USA. Both sites are not officially recognized as tourist destinations, and remain ‘hidden gems’.
Thank you for visiting my favorite place!
Just to let you know. We have a wee addition to our family 🙂
Have a wonderful weekend!