Lough Gur is a lake in County Limerick, Ireland between the towns of Herbertstown and Bruff. The lake forms a horseshoe shape at the base of Knockadoon Hill and some rugged elevated countryside. Lough Gur is a shallow lake measuring 3.5 meters at its deepest level. The lake is fed from underground springs and is not free flowing. The lake and the surrounding area is known to be one of Ireland’s most important archaeological sites. Humans have lived in Lough Gur since Neolithic times. The site of Lough Gur is the only area in all of Ireland where you will see visible remains of every age of mankind throughout the centuries.
The Heritage Centre located on the lake front was officially opened in 1981 and was taken over by the local community in 2011. Since this time the Centre has received a full upgrade and refurbishment. The buildings are inspired by the Neolithic houses on Knockadoon. A gradual shore-line is present at the visitor area, with a shallow section of lake reaching up to the maintained lawn. As a result, the area is often used for water sports, though motorised craft and fishing are not permitted on the lake.
Next to the lake there is a castle, or tower house (closed to visitors) near the entrance to the carpark. Named Bourchier’s Castle after Sir George Bourchier, the son of the second Earl of Bath, it lies at the neck of the peninsula around which the lake washes. There is some other architecture dating from more recent times, with the ruins of an early Christian church by the road leading down to the lake.
At the far end of the lake are the ruins of a Norman castle, Black Castle, which is reached by a hill-side walk along the east side of the lake. This is one of the keeps used during the Desmond Rebellions, and is probably the place where the Earl of Desmond secured his authority in 1573 after casting off his English apparel and donning Irish garments on his return to Munster from London.