Historic Building sights in County Offaly
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Spires, turrets, clinging ivy and creaking trees combine to give this hulking structure a haunted feel. Charleville Castle was the family seat of the Burys, who commissioned the design in 1798 from Francis Johnston, one of Ireland's most famous architects. The interior is spectacular, with stunning ceilings, one of the most striking Gothic-revival galleries in Ireland and a kitchen block built to resemble a country church.
Admission is by 35-minute tour only. If you'd like to help restore this pile, you can join groups of international volunteers; contact the castle for details. The entrance is off the N52, south of Tullamore. Frustration ensues if you go too far and reach…
Overlooking the River Shannon is the 20m-high O'Rourke's Tower. Lightning blasted the top off the tower in 1135, but the remaining structure was used for another 400 years.
Temple Finghin and its round tower are on the northern boundary of the site, also overlooking the Shannon. The building dates from around 1160 and has some fine Romanesque carvings. The herringbone-patterned tower roof is the only one in Ireland that has never been altered. Most round towers became shelters when the monasteries were attacked, but this one was probably just used as a bell tower since the doorway is at ground level.