Cahir Castle was originally a Gaelic stronghold that belonged to Conor O’Brien, Prince of Thomond who built a fortification here on an island on the River Suir in 1142. The word ‘cahir’ in Irish actually means ‘stone fort’. In 1375 it came into the possession of the powerful Anglo-Norman Butler family who continued to rebuild and extend it making it one of the largest in the country. It was captured three times in its turbulent history falling to Devereux, Earl of Essex in 1599 after it had been battered for three days with artillery; it was surrendered without a fight to Inchiquin in 1647, and again to Cromwell in 1650. In 1961, the last Lord Cahir died and the castle reverted to the State. The castle retains its impressive keep, tower and much of its original defensive structure and now features an excellent audio-visual show which informs visitors about its eventful history. It also featured in 1981 as a location for a battle scene in the film Excalibur.