Irish Landmarks – Castle Matrix

Many of Ireland’s esteemed castles are immaculate examples of ancient architecture and Celtic symbolism. If you’re interested in visiting a castle that is a little bit offbeat (and even difficult to actually find), you might enjoy the unique charms of Castle Matrix.

Many tourists enjoy searching for this 15th century castle, and they are often left with fond memories of the structure – and its modern-day inhabitants!

This lovely castle has all of the rugged Celtic design elements one would expect to find – winding stone staircases, a medieval fireplace decorated with ancient weapons, a stunning library…however, it also has the lived-in quality of an actual home. After all, Castle Matrix is an everyday dwelling place for current owner Lis Driscoll, her elderly father, and her teenage son.

Liz and her late husband, Sean O’Driscoll, carefully restored the castle to true medieval splendor…this undertaking was a labor or love that continued for 30 years. Now, Liz raises her son in the home that was her late husband’s passion, pride and joy. She does her best to care for the building and the sprawling grounds that surround it…

This is a Public Castle, but it is not a typical tourist attraction. In fact, a little disarray, and a plethora of household pets, are part and parcel of a trip to the castle. If you are not expecting perfection (and many people really enjoy the good humor, friendly spirit, and relaxed atmosphere of the Driscoll family and their estate!) you will find a lot to appreciate at this castle.

The Mysterious Provenance Of The Castle

The castle’s history is murky, and much of its provenance is lost in the mists of time…however, we do know that the castle was built in 1420.

This Castle was originally named for the Celtic Goddess of romance and poems – her name was Matres. Created for the 7th Earl of Desmond, it is lauded as the meeting place of Edmund Spenser and Sir Walter Raleigh.

Some historians feel that Castle Matres – later renamed Castle Matrix, was the inspiration for The Faerie Queene, an epic poem (although sadly incomplete) written by Spenser in 1590.

In this poem, allegorical elements were used to praise the achievements and virtues of Queen Elizabeth the First (known as The Virgin Queen).

Elizabeth I was understandably taken with this poem, and she granted Spenser a generous pension for life to reward him for his loyalty to her.

Finding This Hidden Gem

Yes, many people have become lost while searching for this square edifice…but many more have traveled to Adare, Ireland and spotted the distinctive turrets through the treetops! If you’re looking for the castle, you’ll need to travel along the N21 and keep a look out for a long driveway flanked by lush trees and plants. Castle Matrix is located close to Rathkeale, near Limerick, Ireland. If you’re in the area, be sure to ask a local for directions…

Currently, no B & B accommodations are in place, but a tour of the castle can be arranged by knocking on the door and introducing yourself to the owner! Your best bet is to plan some other activities in the region, and then cross your fingers and set out to find the castle when you have some free time…

Other Ways To Enjoy The Spirit Of Medieval Ireland…

Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, devoted his life to converting the Irish to Christ. He used the Shamrock, with its three segments, to illustrate the presence of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Shamrock became an important symbol of the Holy Trinity – Patrick believed that it proved the existence of God in the natural world…

Today, the Shamrock remains Ireland’s most recognizable symbol. This tender plant changed the direction and spirituality of the Irish people, who turned away from Paganism during the Middle Ages, and embraced a new direction…

This handcrafted, affordable Shamrock pendant is created in Ireland itself, and stamped at the Assay Office at Dublin Castle. It’s a versatile piece that can be worn with any outfit.

For more great jewelry ideas, please visit our online Irish jewelry store

23 thoughts on “Irish Landmarks – Castle Matrix

  1. Castle Matrix is a great find!! Hard to find, but a great one! Lis is a great hostess although you shouldn’t stop if you are short on time 🙂 She gives a great tour and has lots of good stories. Ask her the one about how her husband bought the castle!!

  2. I am so excited to have found this article! I have been researching family history and discovered that my 7th Great Grandfather was born in this house and the family lived here for many years (or perhaps generations) I am definitely going to visit this summer!

  3. Dear Ciara,
    My first visit to Ireland was 1971 to meet my family in Longford and Leitrim. On the flight back to England, I sat next to Col. Sean (John) O’Driscoll and we immediately hit it off. I was reading a book about the great set designer Gordon Craig by his son Edward Craig – who the Colonel knew – and I told him about my work with a regional theatre company outside of Philadelphia (Hedgerow Theatre). He told me of his castle and plans to make it an arts center. We sent a few letters back and forth and then lost touch. I’m coming to Ireland in May (15-21) and staying in the town of Shannon. I would really love to take time to see the Castle and meet Lis. Should I write to her or do you have one of her children’s emails that I might send a note to about this? What’s the best plan in your eyes? And I loved your story! Thanks for taking the time to reply.
    BEST Maureen McFadden

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