Tirsbæk Castle is beautifully situated on the north-side of Vejle Bay between tall forested hills in a valley neighbouring the bay. The main building from 1550 is surrounded by a moat, and east of the castle there is a Renaissance garden.
The name Tirsbæk – previously Thyrsbæk – originates from Tyr, son of the god Odin. The place is believed to have been the home of a temple before Tirsbæk Castle and that Queen Thyra had the temple rebuilt into a castle when Christianity triumphed.
The present-day three-winged main building was built on a mediaeval castle mounds by Iver Lunge. The Tirsbæk Castle’s north and east wings are from around 1550, while the tower and west wing were added in 1577. The entire place was thoroughly rebuilt in the mid sixteenth century, where also the large park was laid out as a terrace renaissance garden east of the castle. The park was finished in 1745, among other things with a vineyard - the oldest existing in Denmark.
Many families have owned Tirsbæk Castle through the ages (including Lunge, Dyre, Linde, von Benzon, Becker, Schack). The castle’s ”grey lady”, the beautiful shoemaker’s daughter from Horsens – Maren Loss – is said to haunt the place as a punishment for having killed her husband, the squire Christian Linde. He died under peculiar circumstances in the 1750s, only a few years after their wedding. The widow remarried with the handsome bailiff Jørgen Hvas, who purchased his way to a noble title and the name Hvas de Lindenpalm.
Hans Christian Andersen visited the castle in 1830. He wrote in his diary: "The manor is quite antique with embrasures, a moat and drawbridge and with a large tower where I saw a prison chamber and where there were still large iron rings in the wall."
Tirsbæk disposes of nearly 1,000 acres of fields, meadows and forest, 30 acres of park, 13 residential properties, a former smithy, bakery and two water mills.
Since 1912, the place been owned by the current owner’s family, the family Algreen-Ussing. The family, who also resides in the castle, runs the place as a combined arm and forestry as well as rental of homes for private persons and companies. The former stable has been converted to an exclusive restaurant, Restaurant Slotsstalden.
The castle is not open to the public, but a Christmas market is held every year, where it is possible to walk around the yard and a few of the former farm buildings. There is public access to the castle’s Renaissance garden during the summer months.