Abandoned ireland


Burncourt Castle,

Co. Tipperary.

Documenting our Heritage

Burncourt Castle was originally called Everard’s Castle.

The Everards had arrived in Ireland shortly after the Anglo-Norman invasion. When Richard Everard married Catherine Plunkett in 1620, his father Sir John Everard awarded him a large estate spreading across parts of Tipperary, Cork and Limerick. Two years later Richard was created a baronet.

Around 1639 Sir Richard sold much of his lands in co. Cork and co. Limerick and set about building a semi-fortified house. The house, one of the largest and probably the last of the gabled ended semi-fortified 17th century Irish houses to be built, was complete in 1641.

The castle is three storeys high over a basement, originally having twenty six gables and seven chimneys.

In the 20th century Burncourt was excavated by archaeologists. They found a skeleton of a cow in a pit that extended under the eastern wall of the castle. The cow appeared to have been killed and dismembered as part of some kind of protection ritual to provide strength to the Everard’s fortress.

The Everards took up residence just as the 1641 Rebellion begun. In 1642 Sir Richard joined the Catholic Confederates at Kilkenny and became a member of the Supreme Council. Sir Richard’s wife Catherine remained at the castle.

In 1649, as Cromwell’s troops advanced on the castle Lady Catherine deliberately set fire to her fortress to prevent it falling into the enemies’ hands. Everard’s Castle burnt to the ground and later became known as Burncourt.

Sir Richard Everard went on to defend the city of Limerick against Cromwell’s forces, but was captured and hung in 1651 by Cromwell’s son-in-law, Ireton. Thereafter Burncourt was abandoned and never reoccupied.

In the early 18th century, the painter Anthony Chearnly built a two storey five bay house adjoining the Burncourt ruin and established a fine formal garden in front of the old castle bawn.  The remains of this house now form part of the current farmyard buildings located close to the ruin.

According to tradition Burncourt was seven years in building, seven years lived in and seven days burning.