Cahir (in Irish Chathair, and pronounced "care") is a small market town in County Tipperary in Ireland. With a population in 2016 of 3593, its main attractions are the castle, Swiss Cottage, and Mitchelstown Cave.
Expressway Bus X8 runs daily every two hours from Dublin Airport, Busáras and Heuston station via Newlands Cross to Cashel and Cahir, 3 hours. It continues via Mitchelstown and Fermoy to Cork, another 80 min. Cahir's main bus stop is on Castle St just off The Square.
1 Cahir railway station is 300 m north of town centre. There are no facilities to collect online tickets here.
You can easily reach the Castle, Abbey and Swiss Cottage on foot. You need wheels for outlying sights such as the Cave, there's no public transport.
- The Square is the town's pleasant well-preserved centre. It's all the better for the opening of the bypass in 2007, which diverted N24 traffic north of town to join the motorway.
- 1 Cahir Castle, Townparks, Cahir E21 P652. Daily Oct-Feb 09:30-16:30, Mar-Jun & Sept Oct 09:30-17:30, Jun-Aug 09:00-18:30. Large castle on an island in the river, so it has a natural moat. It was built from 1142 over the site of a cathair or fort and enlarged to the 17th C. It was besieged twice but surrendered fairly tamely, so it was spared damage and is now one of the best preserved castles in Ireland. It passed into state hands in 1961 and is often used as a film / TV location. Adult €5, child €3, conc €4.
- 2 St Paul's is the Protestant Church of Ireland. It was designed by John Nash, not the most obvious practice ground for his Brighton Pavilion and Buckingham Palace.
- 3 Cahir Abbey or Priory of St Mary was built from the 13th century as an Augustinian foundation. The tower is 17th C, erected long after the Abbey was dissolved and fell into ruin.
- Cahir Park stretches along the west river bank, south from town centre.
- 4 Carrigeen Castle, to use its Sunday name, is really Cahir Bridewell or "Nick" - temporary cells for miscreants awaiting transfer to higher courts or to a definitive jail. It was built 1813-16 over an earlier fort, and embellished with mock-castellations and turrets just to show who was in charge. It closed in 1878 and became a residence; in 1976 it was converted into a B&B. The interior is private and modern so just admire it from the street unless you're staying here.
- 5 [dead link] Swiss Cottage, Grange More, Cahir (1 km south of town). Mid-March - Oct daily 10:00-18:00. Ornamental or make-believe cottage built in 1810 to a design by Nash - the inspiration being the Petit hameau at Versailles, where the nobility could cosplay in rustic garb. "Why can't those useless real peasants spruce up their hovels like this? - Footman, more chocolate." Adult €5, child €3, conc €4.
- 6 Knockgraffon north of town has a 13th C ruined church, a 16th C ruined tower house and a 12th C Motte. This is a hummock of ground usually fortified with a bailey, initially of wooden palisades then later stone walls. At Knockgraffon the bailey wasn't converted to stone, and the timber hasn't survived, so it's a Motte-with-no-Bailey.
- 7 Mitchelstown Cave, Killavenoge E21 H920 (12 km SW of Cahir, halfway to Mitchelstown). Feb-Nov daily 10:00-16:00, Dec Jan Sa Su 10:00-16:00. The one you see by guided tour is the New Cave, discovered in 1833. It opened as a show cave in 1972 when stairs were cut to replace the rope ladder access. Its chambers have been used for concerts. Old Cave isn't open to the public. Adult €10, child €3.50.
- 8 Galtymore is the highest of the Galtee mountains, and you might be content to view it from a distance. A Munro of 918 m (3011 ft), it doesn't demand technical skills, but the ascent is one long slog, often steep and muddy. The usual approach is from the south by the Black Road Route, which starts from Skeheenarinky on R639. The trail leads through Glengarra Wood, where it's not worth seeking out the fragmentary remains of Galtee Castle.
- 1 Cahir Park Golf Club, Grange Beg, Kilcommon E21 AE29 (on R668). 18-hole course by the river, blue tees 6461 yards, par 71. Round €20.
- The Vee Drive is a scenic tour over the hills into County Waterford. It's usually done as a circuit from Lismore, see that page for description, but you could start from Cahir.
- The Farmers Market is every Saturday 09:00-13:00 in the car park beside the Granary Craft Centre.
- Aldi supermarket is just north of the centre, open M-F 09:00-22:00, Sa Su 09:00-21:00.
- Cheap eating places straggle north of The Square, up Church St east of the river and up Abbey St west of it.
- River House Cafe, 1 Castle St. Daily 08:30-17:00. Popular long-established lunch spot with a wide range, but many customer reviews in early 2020 were poor.
- Lava Rock is the challenger next door, earning consistently good reports for their European cuisine. It's open W-Sa 12:00-15:00, 17:00-22:00, Su 13:00-21:00.
- The Square is thronged with pubs: Punter's Rest, Galtee Inn, WH Irwin, The Bell, Shamrock Lounge, Gatehouse Bar, Morissey Bar. A little further north are Abbey Tavern and Granary Inn.
- Cahir House Hotel, The Square, ☏ . Reliable welcoming hotel in town centre, names in the guest book include de Valera, Mae West and Walt Disney. B&B double €80.
- Other B&Bs near town centre are Tinsley House and Castle Gardens.
- There are 2 or 3 lodging places at M8 junction 11, four km southwest of town.
The town and approach highways have a 4G signal from all Irish carriers. As of Dec 2020, 5G has not reached this area.
- Cashel to the north is a must-see for the Rock and nearby religious sites.
- Waterford is a port with a great Viking, medieval and Georgian heritage.
- Lismore south across the hills has several fine mansions and gardens.
- Tipperary is a pleasant market town with a famous name but that's about all. Keep heading west towards Limerick, a lively miniature Dublin.