Travel to County Kilkenny to explore the historical Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle is located on a highpoint allowing it to stand with a presence overlooking the River Nore, dominating the ‘High Town’ of Kilkenny City. Having been built over eight centuries ago, there have been many alterations and additions made to the castle making it a complex and interesting mixture of architectural styles.

The original Anglo-Norman stone castle was built for the fourth Earl of Pembroke, William Marshall, during the first decade of the thirteenth century. It later became the main residence in Ireland for the powerful Butler family for almost 600 years.

Gift To The People

It remained in the family until 1967, when Arthur, the 6th Marquess of Ormonde presented it to the people of Kilkenny in return for a small token payment.

During the Irish Civil War in 1922, Republican forces were besieged in the castle by the Irish Free State Army, but despite this, the Ormonde family chose to remain steadfast in their bedroom over the great gate, which was the focus of the attack. A great deal of damage was inflicted on the castle, taking years to repair.

After the castle was taken over by the Office of Public Works in 1969, new entrances were created to enable people access to the park. The entrance close to the Parade Tower has cast iron gates that originally arrived from St Stephens Green.

Spectacular Parklands

To the south of the castle, the open parkland has been replanted with trees and shrubs that provide colour all year round, with pathways being restored and extended.

On the west side of the castle, a formal garden with axial paths spread from a main fountain area and retains much of the basic form that could have been seen during the ducal period. The fountain that exists today is likely to have been the base of an original seventeenth century water feature.

There are two lead statues standing on pedestals near to the castle, one is of Hermes after the original that is housed in the Vatican collection, with the other being of Diana of the Huntress.

People wanting to travel to explore Kilkenny, can rent a car from Dublin Car Hire and travel south along the M7 and N8 to the province of Leinster and the county town of County Kilkenny.