It was part of the huge territory held by the Earls of Desmond, after the revolt of the 15th Earl, it became part of the large estate given to Sir Walter Raleigh, by Queen Elizabeth I. According to legend this was when the potato was introduced to Ireland from South America. The estate was bought by Richard Boyle, First Earl of Cork from Raleigh. Boyle was an Elizabethan adventarer par excellence, who through a combination of marriage and property speculation, amassed a substantial estate comprising of large parts of East Cork and West Waterford. He made Lismore his principal seat and it was here his famous son, the father of modern chemistry, Robert Boyle was born.
After the death of the 3rd Earl of Cork, the estate was inherited by his daughter Lady Charlotte Boyle who married William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire. The 6th Duke had the castle remodelled extensively in the Gothic style. In 1814 a rare vellum manuscript from the 15th century, the book of Lismore was found in a wall of the Castle. The castle remains a private residence of the Dukes of Devonshire.
By carA car is by far the most pratical way to visit the town. The N72 passes through the town from Fermoy to Dungarvan. There is also a very pleasant drive from Youghal via Tallow to Lismore.
By footThe town is part of the Blackwater way walk.
Lismore Castle gardensThe castle is closed to the public, but the gardens are a very pleasant place to while away a few hours.
The TowersAll that remains of a once grand mansion are the dramatic Gothic bridge and lodge. But a beautiful short forest walk now wends through the old estate. Great place for a picnic.
OBrians Chop HouseUnder the management of the owners of Ballyvolane House. There is a lovely garden area in the rear.