Main Hall of Waterford Castle, The Island, Ballinakill, Co. Waterford
The Dublin Penny Journal, Volume 1, Number 43, April 20, 1833 said of the Castle:
The castle of Lismore is one of the most magnificent of the ancient Irish residences, and is seen to great advantage from being built on a very elevated situation on the verge of a hill, the river Blackwater running close to the foundation.
The circular towers which flank the northern front are partly concealed by trees, which seem to grow out of the river, and which throw into shade large intervals of the rocky base of the building these remarkable objects, combined with the abrupt position of the castle which is seen hanging over the dark and rapid stream, compose a romantic and striking picture, which has scarcely ever been adequately represented. The first door-way is called the riding-house, from its being originally built to accommodate two horsemen, who mounted guard, and for whose reception there were two spaces which are still visible under the archway. The riding-house is the entrance into a long avenue shaded by magnificent trees, and flanked with high stone walls; this leads to another doorway, the keep or grand entrance into the square of the castle. Over the gate are the arms of the first Earl of Cork, with the motto, "God's providence is our inheritance." The castle and its precincts were regularly fortified, and covered a large space of ground, the bounds of which may still be traced by the existing walls and towers. It is highly interesting to examine the various parts of the defences so minutely and vividly represented in the first Earl of Cork's diary. 'My orchard, and my garden,' and 'the turrets, which did so continually beat and clear the curteyn wall,' all are religiously preserved, and have been recently brought into view and cleared of the obstructions which time and neglect had accumulated about them.
The great square of the castle has rather an unfinished appearance, and, from the introduction of modern doors and windows, offends against all the rules of uniformity and architectural consistency. The sombre appearance of the building around the square is admirably contrasted with the interior of the castle. The rooms are fitted up with all the convenience of modern improvement; the doors are of Irish oak of great thickness and beauty, and the windows, composed of large squares of glass, each pane opening on hinges, combine accommodation with harmony of appearance. The drawing-rooms are ornamented with tapestry, and contain some good oil paintings. One of the towers is still retained in its rude and dilapidated state, serving as a contrast to the modern adornments, as well as showing the great ingenuity and taste which have been displayed in combining the luxuries of the present day with the romantic beauties of so ancient a building.
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