Kilkenny Castle

One of the first things we saw upon arrival in the beautiful medieval city of Kilkenny was the prominently sited Kilkenny Castle. From its elevated perch it commands a crossing on the River Nore and overlooks the entire city. The city was once walled on three sides (the river forming the fourth) and remnants of that wall still remain. Several medieval buildings await exploration including St Canice's Cathedral, Rothe House, the castle's old stables (Kilkenny design centre), Shee Alms House (Tourist Office), The Tholsel, and Kytelers Inn which is the oldest house in Kilkenny .

A castle has defended the city from this site since at least 1172 when the Norman Knight, Richard de Clare, (Strongbow) built a timber structure. Twenty years later the stone castle was built by Strongbow's son-in-law, William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke, who is also credited with building Carlow Castle. Excavations have revealed a sod-built structure and sections of a large earthen rampart that pre-date the stone castle. The stone castle was originally square-shaped, with towers at each corner of the walls. A distinctive group of castles evolved in Leinster known as "Four towered" keeps. Only three of the original four towers survive today. Inside the walls were a hall, chapel and diverse wooden buildings. Defensive features include a dry moat and a massive stone base batter on the surviving curtain walls which extended into the dry ditch.

17th Century Gateway

Two of the numerous carvings situated around the walls

When the Butler family bought the castle in 1391 the setting was described as within a park with orchards and meadows, a garden and dovecot. The family maintained ownership from that date until 1967, when it was given to the state. But before then numerous changes were made as the castle was converted into a more modern dwelling. By the time of Cromwell's siege, the castle already had only 3 towers and a survey recorded that the "top of the battlements were 132 foot long by 20 foot wide and that there were 25 rooms within the castle". A classical gateway was inserted into the curtain wall towards the end of the 17th century. Hopefully we will get some interior shots on our next visit to this splendid castle.

Situated: Very easy. Kilkenny Castle is stuated on castle street in the heart of Kilkenny city.

Discovery Map 67: S 5085 5565. Last visit Aug 2017.

Longitude: 7 ° 14' 57" W

Latitude: 52° 39' 01 " N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey and Deb Snelson.

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