Kilkenny Castle stands dramatically on a strategic height that commands a crossing on the River Nore and dominates the ‘High Town’ of Kilkenny City. Over the eight centuries of its existence, many additions and alterations have been made to the fabric of the building, making Kilkenny Castle today a complex structure of various architectural styles. The original Anglo-Norman stone castle was built for William Marshal, 4th Earl of Pembroke (c.1146-1219) during the first decade of the thirteenth century. Kilkenny Castle later became the principal Irish residence of the powerful Butler family for almost 600 years. The Butler ownership began when James (c.1360-1405), 3rd Earl of Ormond, purchased the castle in c.1391, and lasted until 1967 when Arthur, 6th Marquess of Ormonde (1893-1971), presented it to the people of Kilkenny in return for a token payment of £50. The buildings have been in the care of the Office of Public Works since 1969, and many important programmes of archaeological excavation, conservation, and restoration have been carried out there. Open daily for both tours and a casual walk on the grounds the childrens playground is open daily.
An Augustinian Priory founded in 1193. It is situated alongside King’s River beside the village of Kells, about 15km south of the medieval city of Kilkenny. The priory is a National Monument and is in the guardianship of the Office of Public Works. One of its most striking features is a collection of medieval tower houses spaced at intervals along and within walls which enclose a site of just over 3 acres. These give the priory the appearance more of a fortress than of a place of worship and from them comes its local name of ‘Seven Castles’.
The Celtic cross dates from the 9th century and stands over the burial site of Niall Caille, High King of Ireland.
Opening Times: 2018
All year. Free Entry.
Jerpoint Abbey may have been in existence since the 1160s but was only formally affiliated to the Cisterican order in 1180. It was located close to Newtown Jerpoint, a substantial settlement with a parish church and a stone bridge over the River Nore. This bridge gave Jerpoint its name, ‘ori pons’ meaning the Nore bridge. A charter issued by John, lord of Ireland c. 1192 confirmed an earlier charter granted by one of the kings of Osraige (Ossory) from the Mac Gilla Pátraic (modern Fitzpatrick) family, either Domnall I (d. 1176) or Domnall II (d. 1185). It belongs to a small group of Irish Cistercian churches that combine influences from both Burgundian and West Country English sources. Its architectural and some sculptural detailing is particularly close to that of its mother house at Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow founded in 1148. It was the mother house of Killenny, Co. Kilkenny (fd. c. 1185, now destroyed) and Kilcooly, Co. Tipperary (c. 1184).
Mar 10am to 5pm,
June – Mid Sept – 9.30am to 6.30pm,
Mid Sept to 31st Oct – 10am to 5pm,
Nov: 10am to 4pm.
Irelands Medieval Mile
Ireland’s Medieval Mile is where history meets the here and now. Step back in time and take a unique voyage of discovery linking Kilkenny castle and St. Canice’s Cathedral with all manner of medieval magic in-between, this is your chance to experience all the sights, sounds and smells of a city where history really does come to life.
Descending through the Cities narrow streets you will find a host of cultural attractions along the way including the Medieval Mile Museum and the Smithwicks Experience. With Ancient Abbeys, Cathedrals and Merchant town houses there is a host of cultural attractions and historical landmarks along side the many bustling cafes shops restaurants and pubs.