Kinnitty Castle

  • LocationBirr, Co. Offaly
  • Listed in Castles
Kinnity Castle
Kinnitty Castle

A gothic revival Castle located at the foothills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains in County Offaly, in the heart of Ireland. The Castle has had a long and turbulent history. The first Castle at Kinnitty was destroyed in 1209 and was later rebuilt by the Norman’s in 1213. Later the Norman’s were driven out by the powerful Gaelic clan, the O’Carrolls of Ely.

During the Norman period an Augustinian Abbey was established near the castle of, which the famous High Cross and Abbey Wall still remain on the estate. In 1630 William O’Carroll built a new Castle in close Proximity to the old Abbey. This was confiscated in 1641 by the English forces as part of the plantation of Offaly, or ”Kings County” as it was renamed. In 1664, the crown granted an estate, which included the Castle to Col. Thomas Winter as reward for military service.

The estate was sold by Col. Winter’s descendants to the Bernard family in 1764. In 1811, Lady Catherine Hutchinson, wife of Thomas Bernard , commissioned the famous Pain Brothers, architects of Dromedary Castle and Adare Manor, to extend the Castle to what it is today, a gem of neo gothic architecture. In 1922 as with many stately homes in Ireland the castle was burned by Republican forces.

The Castle was rebuilt in 1928 and the Bernard family lived there until 1946 when it was sold to Lord Decies who in turn sold the Castle to the State in 1951. The state retained ownership until 1994 and has since been transformed into a luxury 37 bedroom hotel. Today, Kinnitty Castle Hotel can be enjoyed by visitors from all over the world. It offers a 60 Seater restaurant decorated in Georgian style, a library bar which houses an unique collection of antique books and journals, and an exquisite Louis XV style Drawing Room.