Lisronagh, County Tipperary is today not so much a village as a hamlet, but this was not always the case. According to Samuel Lewis, in 1837 it had a population of 981, whereas in the census of 2016, the number of inhabitants had fallen to 184. The latter figure is even a fraction of what it had been in the Middle Ages: surviving documentation from 1333 show Lisronagh’s population likely exceeded 400. At that time, the land here was held by Lady Elizabeth de Burgh, daughter of a descendant of William de Burgh, the Anglo-Norman knight who in the late 12th century had acquired vast estates in this part of the country. William de Burgh is thought to have built some kind of fortified structure at Lisronagh, probably of wood, but this was probably later replaced by a stone castle. That building is not what is seen on the site today, since the earlier structure appears to have been destroyed in the 15th century by Edmond Butler, eighth Baron Dunboyne and Seneschal of Tipperary.
Lisronagh Castle, or what remains of it, is a 16th century tower house. A document dated 1530 in the collection of the National Library of Ireland shows the grant by one Richard Howet to Piers Butler, Earl of Ossory (later eighth Earl of Ormond) ‘of the tenement of the castle of Lisronagh.’ The present building may have been built thereafter, and remained the property of the Butler family at least into the latter part of the 17th century. When and how it fell into disrepair does not appear known. A large opening close to the base of the east wall (which faces the adjacent road) suggests this was the original entrance, although that is around the corner on the north side. High above the arched doorcase are corbels that would once have supported the now-lost machiolation; also largely gone are the window stones, presumably removed at some date. Internally, the tower house follows the usual pattern with a large, vaulted chamber of the ground floor. A flight of stairs to the immediate right of the entrance leads to the floors above, one of which retains a fireplace but otherwise little of the interior decoration survives.
Immediately north of Lisronagh Castle is an abandoned church. Dedicated to St John the Baptist, it dates from 1831 when constructed with the aid of funds from the Board of First Fruits, and on the site of a Medieval building (presumably serving the 400-plus populace recorded as having been here in the 1330s). The church very much conforms to the Board of First Fruits typology, having a three-bay nave with access at the west end beneath a two-stage bell tower. The entrance features a handsome stone carved Tudor arch but otherwise there is little decoration and certainly nothing inside, which has been given over to vegetation (as has the eastern end of the church). Services ceased here a century ago, in 1923, and the building subsequently became roofless and open to the elements. So there they now stand, side by side, two historic properties, both abandoned, both replete with memories of the past.