Farney Castle, Co.Tipperary
Images of the castle
Farney Castle is the home, design studio and retail outlet of Irish International Designer, Cyril Cullen, and it is the only Round Tower in Ireland occupied as a family home. The first castle was built at Farney in 1185 and this would have been a timbered structure. The present round tower was built in 1495 by Thomas Butler, 7th Earl of Ormond, and it was part of a defensive system created by the Butlers to protect their land in Tipperary. The Butlers were in Farney Castle for 500 years but in 1536 the castle was confiscated by King Henry VIII of England. He returned the lands again to the Butlers in 1538 when he married Anne Boleyn who was the daughter of James, 3rd Earl of Ormond. Subsequently the castle was occupied for short periods by two other English monarchs namely King James 1st from 1617 - 1625, and King George 1st from 1716 -1721.
Baronial stairs rises squarely to the first floor and the elegant Banqueting Room boasts of four large windows facing west, which currently house a collection of rare and modern Harps.
In 1649 Cromwell landed in Ireland and shortly after 1650 a Cromwellian soldier named Hulett took over the castle. Then in 1660 Capt. William Armstrong, a Cavalier who supported the Stuarts and who fought against Cromwell, acquired the castle and lands, and there were Armstrongs in the castle for the next 200 years. William Armstrong came from a Scottish Border country family which was famed in the sixteenth century for its ferocity, and in 1677 he purchased large estates in the area including Holy Cross Abbey and Holy Cross lands.
The round tower is 58 ft. high and has five stories. It is unusual in being circular whereas the majority of this sort of tower were square or oblong. It possesses a mural staircase (built within the thickness of the walls) off which it appears that secret rooms still exist undiscovered. The main door was opened up by Cyril Cullen having been closed for 200 years. There is a "murdering hole" over the main door and this enabled the castle defenders to shoot from above at any intruders. The tower castles were built to safeguard the Butler lands during the long periods when the family was away in England
Cyril Cullen has his Porcelain Workshops in the converted outoffices and he produces a large range of Fine Parian Porcelain Figurines and Ornaments ranging in price from £3.00 to £300.00 and these are for sale in the Castle Shop. Cyril also designs and produces a range of Lady's and Gent's Knit Sportswear including Sweaters, Jackets, Coats, Hats & Scarves in Tweedy Yarns and Linen/Cotton yarns. A specialty is the JACOB SWEATER made from the Undyed Coloured Fleece of the rare Jacob Sheep which can be seen grazing in the adjoining castle paddocks. These and other gift items are for sale in the Castle Shop.
Cyril Cullen, M.S.D.I. is listed in Eleanor Lamber's Book, "World of Fashion", as a leader in the field of Irish Design. His Knitwear & Porcelain Collections have been exported worldwide and have been featured in such prestigious shops as Harrods of London, Saks Fifth Ave., and Bloomingdales New York. On three occasions he represented Ireland at Festival of Designers, Modefest Yugoslavia and currently he is a Council Member of The Crafts Council of Ireland.
Cyril & his wife, Margie reside in the Castle with their four daughters, Emily, Benita, Tara and Margot - the renowned "Cullen Harpers" (Four Irish Harps, Four Voices, Uileann Pipes and Concert Flutes). They have given recitals worldwide including Carnegie Hall, New York and Barbican Centre, London. They give recitals in the Castle Banqueting Room by arrangement.
Tours of the Farney Castle are daily ~ £3.00 per person, and Admission To Shop is free. A visit to the castle would not be complete without a snack in the Coffee Shop; and the 'experience' of the "Salmon Of Knowledge" in the Guardroom.
Opening Hours:- Monday to Saturday inclusive from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Closed Sundays). Wintertime from 10 a.m. to sundown.