Nenagh Castle was built c. 1216 and was the main castle of the Butler family before they moved to Gowran, County Kilkenny in the 14th century. The family later purchased Kilkenny Castle which was to the main seat of their power for the next 500 years. It has has a turbulent history and was captured by Owen Roe O’Neill in 1641, recaptured by Lord Inchiquin, was then surrendered to Ireton in 1651 during the Cromwellian period and was then burned by Sarsfield in 1688 during the Williamite Wars.  The circular keep is over thirty metres high and is one of the finest of its kind in Ireland. The crown of mock crenelations and the clerestory windows were added in 1861 at the instigation of Bishop Michael Flannery. The intention was that the keep would become the Bell tower of a Pugin-designed cathedral which was never built. Though not true to historic character these additions have ensured the iconic status of the keep which ensures that it features on the logos of many local clubs and businesses including Nenagh Town Council.  A project is currently under way to develop the castle and its surrounds and will position the castle as the main tourist attraction in the area.

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