This village has been in existence since 1092. Liscarroll has the remains of the third largest castle in Ireland. It is a large square in shape with rounded turrets at each corner. It was probably built by the Norman family of Barry in whose possession it remained for several centuries.
The remains of Liscarroll Castle, a large 13th century Hiberno-Norman fortress, still tower over the village.
The castle is the subject of an 1854 poem by Callaghan Hartstonge Gayner which concludes:
Beneath its folds assemble now, and fight with might and main,
That grand old fight to make our land a nation once again,
And falter not till alien rule in dark oblivion falls,
Well stand as freemen yet, beneath those old Liscarroll walls.
LISCARROLL “A Rich Heritage”
LISCARROLL “CARROLLS FORT”
This place is distinguished for the remains of its ancient castle. The village is pleasantly situated in a valley and contains 120 houses, which are mostly thatched. A barrack for two officers and 64 non-commissioned officers and privates was built here in 1821: the establishment was kept up for about four years but the buildings are now occupied by labourers. Fairs are held on the 25th of March, 1st and 31st of May, August 31st, October 21st and November 29th, chiefly for cattle and pigs; a constabulary police force is stationed here.
The name of Liscarroll is derived from an earthen fort erected by the O’Carrolls, in the early Medieval Period. The present village owes its origins to the Anglo-Normans, whose invasion of Ireland in 1169AD brought sweeping cultural, economic, social and administrative changes. There are over 100 known archaeological sites in Liscarroll parish, some of which, such as the medieval parish church, the graveyard and Liscarroll Castle, may be visited by the public.
Liscarroll graveyard has been digitally surveyed and is viewable if you follow this link: Liscarroll Historic Graves, click here
Liscarroll Castle was the most important military structure erected in County Cork in the 13th century. The castle was built on an outcrop of rock that projects into swampy ground lying immediately north of the village. The outer defensive wall encloses a quadrangular area measuring 62 metres from north to south. The outer curtain wall stands to an average external height of 8.5M. Curious features of the castle include The Hangmans Hole, a well-like opening adjoining the castle.
Liscarroll Castle was built by the Norman family of de Barry, who held extensive properties in County Cork. William de Barry, who had a grant of his father’s lands confirmed to him by King John in 1206, became Lord of Castlelyons, Barryscourt and Buttevant.
In the early 17th century, Sir Philip Perceval loaned large sums of money to John Barry. In 1647, 20 years after Sir Philip had moved to recover the debt, John Barry admitted that I owed Perceval more than my estate or neck is worth. I am certain that it was not so when I indebted myself to him. Liscarroll remained the property of Sir Philips descendants, the Earls of Egmont, until the 20th century. In 1936, the castle was taken into State care. In the course of subsequent restoration works, a bronze harp-peg was found in a hole in the upper part of the south-west tower. The peg is now in the National Museum of Ireland.
SIEGE OF 1642
On 20 August 1642, during the Confederate War (1641-53), General Gerald Barry, on behalf of the Confederate Irish, advanced with 7,000 men from Limerick to Liscarroll Castle. But the 80-year-old general was so slow and indecisive that it took him twelve days to take the castle, even though the force which held it was comparatively tiny.
Murrough O’Brien, Earl of Inchiquin, advanced from Cork with a greatly inferior force, intent on retaking the strategically important castle for the English Parliamentarians. In the early stages of the English attack, the Irish mistakenly thought that they had routed the English and began looting and pillaging too early. This gave Inchiquin a critical opportunity to gather his men for a desperate charge that shattered but failed to defeat the Irish ranks.
Other attacks over the next few days resulted in Liscarroll being taken into English control. In 1645, the Earl of Castlehaven, leading Irish forces, retook Liscarroll and other castles in the area. However, in 1650, Sir Hardress Waller attacked the castle with artillery and blew a gap in its west wall. Although it temporarily changed hands again during 1646, it was to remain in Perceval ownership for the next two-and-a-half centuries.
Only the gable of Liscarroll’s medieval parish church now survives, but in its surrounding graveyard are many interesting gravestones dating to the 17th and 18th centuries. Among the finely carved memorials is one to Michael Sheehan of Ballycristy, who died in 1804. This headstone has a discretely carved angel under the letters IHS (the first three letters of Jesus name in Greek). Many of the surnames recorded on the stones are still found in the Liscarroll area.
LISCARROLL CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY
In the latter half of the 19th century, the co-operative movement enjoyed rapid development in Ireland. Its impact on farming was enormous, particularly in areas such as Liscarroll, where the farmer-owned Liscarroll Co-operative Dairy Society founded a creamery in 1891. This creamery gave great vibrancy and industry to Liscarroll throughout its history. In 1969, as part of moves to rationalize the Irish dairy industry, Liscarroll Co-op amalgamated with the Mallow-based Ballyclough Co-operative Creamery which, in 1990, merged with Mitchelstown Co-op to form Dairygold.
O’ Briens Bar is located in the heart of the village of Liscarroll
O’ Briens Bar is located in the heart of the village of Liscarroll and has been supported by the local community since 1818. Many generations of the O’Brien Family have proudly served locals and visitors in this establishment steeped in heritage and real traditional surroundings. It has been described by heritage professionals as being in the category of one of the oldest heritage pubs in Cork and one which has maintained that proud heritage in its features to this day.
What to expect: Outside.
The larger features, both inside and outside of the bar have mainly been left untouched for over a century. On arrival to the bar – you will notice a plaque which was presented to the O’Brien family for my grandfather Cmdt Paddy O’Brien for his role in the activities locally as a volunteer and subsequently Cmdt of the Cork 4th brigade in the fight for Irish freedom. Out of respect for this commemoration plaque – we do not have modern brightly lit advertising on the outside of the bar. The appearance of the building is very unassuming and has been described by visitors who stumble upon the bar as a treasure trove.
What to expect: Inside.
When people find out that, ‘The bar has been maintained in its current state since 1913’ – they are not surprised when they enter what has been described as a ‘Real Irish pub’. To almost give you a virtual description, upon entering the bar, the first you will notice is the cement floor – where many great, brave men and women also stood. The largest aspect you will then notice is the counter and shelving which is very unique compared to the newer style bars as it is a neutral bright colour typical of its day originally. So many have praised the sturdiness of the material and the great workmanship of this furniture which have served the bar well since 1913. You can also see the tiny door which led to the snug which was where ladies chatted and was also used by individuals who wanted privacy. The old style doors still remain around the bar and other features include an array of original old style items from the house, farm and local area which are displayed around the bar.
Much to the approval of locals and visitors alike – there is no TV, so the art of conversation is at its best. It has always been said that due to the easy atmosphere, individuals and visitors alike find that the chat and banter flow easily. This can largely be attributed to how lucky we have always been to attract customers which we refer to as the ‘cream of the crop’ who enjoy nothing better than good conversation and good company.
The bar oozes old world charm and is only one of a few remaining gems to be found now with such genuine character and atmosphere. Considering the recent Centenary Commemorations, many people find it amazing to sit in a place which still looks as it did before the Easter Rising and to imagine what life might have been like both in difficult and victorious times.
O’Briens has also become well known for its excellent draught, in particular its Guinness, according to many, many samplers of the beverage – it has been described as ‘Mothers Milk’ and well worth a try even if you are not a usual drinker of the beverage.
How to find us:
Liscarroll is located on the busy R522 and is just 6 miles off the N20 Cork – Limerick road, you can reach the village by turning off in Buttevant where it is signposted for Liscarroll and the fantastic local Donkey Sanctury. The R522 is located on the Newcastle West – Mallow road.
When you reach Liscarroll village, O’Briens Bar is located close to the centre of the Main Street. As mentioned earlier there is a commemoration plaque to my grandfather over the O’Brien name sign and hence out of respect for same – we do not have any form of typical pub advertising on the wall. You may spot the milk churns on either side of the bar door which signified the working family farm adjoining the bar where animals were farmed and the milk from the cows was subsequently sold as produce in the bar in a time gone by.
Directions to location using google maps: Here
History of the bar:
The bar is one of Corks oldest historical pubs with a date of approx 1818 and it has been in the O’Brien family name since its inception. The bar is steeped in history from its structure to the activities of both the people who lived in it and the locals etc who came and went in it. My grandmother Nora O’Brien like so many others in the area such as the mother to President Michael D. Higgins – Alice Canty, were strongly involved in the Cumann na mBan to help with activities to achieve freedom from Crown Forces. My grandfather Paddy O’Brien was also involved in such military activities as a volunteer and later as Commandant of the 4th brigade in Cork. A plaque was presented to the O’Brien family for Cmdt Paddy O’Brien and this can be seen from the street on the bar building. And like many places locally in the area, it was also one where volunteers came together to hatch plans and organise activity locally. My Grand Uncle Daniel O’Brien was one of these brave people and following a shoot out in Aughrim (3 – 4 miles from Liscarroll village) – he was captured by the British and taken to Cork Military Barracks where he was tried by drumhead court martial and sentenced to death and was executed on the 16th May 1921. He was the last volunteer to be executed in Cork Jail before the truce in August 1921.
Frequent visitors to the bar were many other great people who also volunteered for Irish freedom from a huge array of areas. Following the formation of the Irish State, Eamonn de Valera was also one such visitor to the bar and the Liscarroll area.
Agriculture was also a very strong topic both in this home and bar, with Liscarroll being in a good area for many forms of agriculture. Paddy O’Brien served a time as Vice Chairman of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) – being a farmer as well as a publican, and in a time where the family unit revolved around the farm. The farm yard behind the bar was a busy working farm, and as mentioned already providing items such as milk for selling on the premises. We hear many stories recounted now from people who recall having their first experience of a public house when they were children and being ‘sent to O’Briens for a bottle or jug of milk’ for the kitchen. Many of those people continuing to call to this day, but indulging in slightly stronger beverages than milk!
Like most rural pubs we generally do not open until the evening time, however, should your tour group wish to arrange a visit during the day, we would be delighted to hear from you and accommodate you by opening at a time suitable to your travel arrangements. Contact details below
How to contact us:
Phone: 00353 22 48211
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