‘It was in the hall of this Castle, then his principal residence, that James, first Duke and twelfth Earl of Ormond, received, as he sat at dinner, on 23d October 1641, intelligence of the great rebellion, in which he so eminently distinguished himself as Commander of the Royal Army. Since that period, none of the Ormond family have resided in Carrick-Castle, which is, however, maintained in good repair, and occupied by a private gentleman, who has evinced excellent taste in the alterations which he has made in the building without impairing the character of its architecture. It stands upon the banks of the river Suir, and near the town of Carrick-on-Suir. This castle was built in the year 1309, by Edmond le Boteler, or Butler, whose son was created Earl of Ormond in 1328. By him it was granted, in 1336, together with its demesnes, to the Franciscan monks of the Abbey of Carrick-on-Suir. But these venerable personages, who probably attached more value to the lands than to the fortress, appear to have permitted it to fall into decay, since we find that, in 1445, Sir Edmund Butler purchased the premises from the Monks, and rebuilt the Castle and Bridge.’
From Picturesque Views of the Antiquities of Ireland, 1830
‘Prior to starting to Waterford, let us not fail to view the fine old castle of the Ormonds, built in 1309, and still remaining in the family. The antique bridge, from the right bank of the river, just above the weir, presents all that is fantastically eccentric in architecture, the ivied house in the centre imparting to it an air of pleasing novelty. The parish chapel is said to have been built by the Ormonds, and the tower attached to the modern building bears proof of high antiquity. We hope tradition speaks “no scandal against Queen Elizabeth,” as the guide points out the grave of Thomas Butler, the putative natural son of her maiden Majesty.’
From The Tourist’s Illustrated Hand-Book for Ireland, 1859
‘I chanced that day to be at Carrick, and I walked to see the old castle. It is beautifully situated in a secluded lawn overhanging the Suir, at a distance of a few hundred yards from the eastern end of the town. I could not ascertain the date of the older, or castellated part of the edifice: the more modern part was erected by Thomas Butler, Earl of Ormond, in 1565, which date is displayed on the wall of the hall; on which, likewise, there is a rude fresco representing Queen Elizabeth, with the initials E.R. On the opposite wall there is another fresco of the founder, who is said by the tradition of the castle to have found favour as a lover of that princess. The tradition found its way into France, and the family of Lord Galmoye is stated, in a French genealogical work, to descend from her Majesty and her Irish admirer…The curious old mansion founded by “Black Tom Butler” is still habitable. Its front presents a long row of gables in the fashion of Elizabethan manor-houses, with a large Oriel window over the porch. Its large deserted chambers are just as spectral personages might regularly honour with their visits. I accordingly asked if the house was haunted, and was told by the person who showed it, that in the days of the Ormonds, a ghost had been constantly there – a utilitarian ghost, apparently; for he used to officiate as volunteer shoeblack, and to discharge other duties of domestic labour.
The largest apartments are in the upper storey. There is a noble drawing room about sixty feet long, which contains two decorated chimneys. Whatever be the worth of the Galmoye tradition, old “Tom Butler” as the guide familiarly called him, was anxious to record his devotion to Elizabeth; and this he has done by the frequent repetition of her Majesty’s initials and arms in the quaint stucco ornaments of the ceiling.’
From Ireland and her Agitators by W.J. O’Neill, 1867.