Kilkenny Castle

Boat Trip under Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle: At the Heart of a Medieval City

Few buildings in Ireland can boast a longer history of continuous occupation than Kilkenny Castle. Sited on the banks of the river Nore in the charming medieval city of Kilkenny, this historic landmark has witnessed centuries of change, adaptation, and transformation. Here is a little blurb on the captivating story of Kilkenny Castle.


Kilkenny Castle and River Nore in Kilkenny City

A Brief History

Kilkenny Castle was founded soon after the Norman conquest of Ireland in the 12th century. Its strategic location near a fording-point of the River Nore and the convergence of several routeways made it a vital stronghold. The first castle on this site was probably a wooden structure, constructed in the 12th century by Richard de Clare, also known as Strongbow. His daughter, Isabel, married William Marshal, the 1st Earl of Pembroke. He set about building the first stone Castle on the site. He was responsible for many castles, abbeys and lighthouses in the region, including Carlow Castle. Three towers of the original four tower castle in Kilkenny still survive to this day .Over the next 800 years, the castle evolved, adapted, and expanded to suit the needs of its occupants.

Victorian Remodelling

The current incarnation of Kilkenny Castle is largely a Victorian remodelling of the original 13th-century defensive structure. The imposing stone walls, turrets, and battlements evoke a sense of medieval grandeur. Each year, hundreds of thousands of visitors come to see this grand structure and walk through its fifty acres of rolling parkland with mature trees and an abundance of wildlife.

Kilkenny Castle on the river Nore

The Butler Dynasty

The Butler family arrived in Ireland with the Norman invasion. They originally settled in Gowran where James Butler, 3rd Earl of Ormond built Gowran Castle in 1385. The family had become wealthy and James bought Kilkenny Castle in 1391 and established himself as ruler of the area. The Butler dynasty then ruled the surrounding area for centuries.

Exploring Kilkenny Castle

The Castle Interior
Restored Rooms: Wander through opulent chambers adorned with period furniture, tapestries, and artwork. Each room whispers tales of the past, from banquets to political intrigues.
Picture Gallery: Marvel at an impressive collection of paintings, including works by renowned artists. The gallery offers a glimpse into the artistic heritage of Kilkenny.

Parklands and Gardens
Fifty Acres of Rolling Parkland: Step outside and breathe in the fresh air as you explore the extensive park surrounding the castle. Ancient trees, lush lawns, and abundant wildlife create a serene escape.
Formal Terraced Rose Garden: Lose yourself among fragrant blooms and meticulously manicured hedges.
Woodlands and Man-Made Lake: These picturesque additions were introduced in the 19th century, enhancing the castle’s beauty.

Modern Amenities
Tearoom: Take a break and enjoy refreshments in the tearoom, where history meets comfort.
Playground: Families with children can let their little ones play in the castle’s playground.
Orienteering Trails: Embark on scenic trails that lead you through the parklands, offering glimpses of hidden treasures.

Boat Trip under Kilkenny Castle

Visitor Information

Location: Kilkenny Castle on Google Maps
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM
Contact: Call (056) 770 4100 for inquiries.

Plan Your Visit

Kilkenny Castle welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art lover, or simply seeking tranquillity, this enchanting gem awaits your exploration. Book your tickets, immerse yourself in the past, and discover the timeless allure of Kilkenny Castle.

For more historical sites in Kilkenny, check out Historical Sites in Kilkenny

Young girl in pink dress sitting on the edge of a  water fountain in front of Kilkenny Castle
Wedding photo of newly married couple on a boat in Kilkenny city with Castle in background.

1st July 2024


Clifford Reid

Written by Clifford Reid


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