We love castles, new ones or old ones. The castle in Kilkenny has foundations dating from the thirteenth century and was built by William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke. Our youngest is a great fan of William Marshall so Kilkenny Castle was a must-see on this trip.
Unfortunately, photos are not allowed inside the castle so all my pictures are of the outside. There are quite a few photos on the web site below.
There is a tea room in the castle but I'm not going to recommend it. When we were there, they had one fellow cooking, waiting and running the cash register and he wasn't very efficient. He also wasn't really cooking; he was microwaving pre-made sandwiches and things. The tea might be okay but the food is mediocre. There are several excellent restaurants in town so better to go enjoy one of those.
Outside, there is a wonderful park and if you enjoy little tourist trains, you can catch one right outside the castle entrance.
From the 17th century onward, Kilkenny Castle was owned by the Butler family, whose head was holders of the title "Marquess of Ormonde." Following Irish Independence, they were no longer able to maintain the property, and in the 1960s the family donated it to a conservation group which has done a superb job of restoring the the building and the grounds.
The public rooms of the castle are generally in very good shape - I was especially intrigued by the long and handsome picture gallery. The Butlers lived in considerable style, and were rightly proud of the heritage of their property. The Castle itself dates back to the medieval Norman occupation of this region, and it really does still remind a visitor that this was essentially an occupied fort for many centuries.
The Castle is strategically located next time to a flowing river. The Castle played a significant during the Wars of the 1640s, and following his conquest of the region, Oliver Cromwell himself supervision the partial demolition of its defensive fortifications. (Originally the courtyard was enclosed.)
I visited Kilkenny on a grayish day in early March, but I was still able to enjoy the blooming daffodils and crocuses on the grounds.
The Kilkenny Castle is absolutly breathtaking. We were visiting the castle on a day that the tours of the castle were free and it was a self guide tour. We were a little late in the day and they were about to close so we were kind of in a rush but the entire tour was very nice and we learned alot. Afterward we walked the premises and took some pictures, as we were walking around the sky started to turn black and there was a huge rainbow. We had a great but quick time at the Kilkenny castle.
It is from the rear of the castle you have another splendid view of the castle and its turrets, towers and battlements across the parkland. The entrance to the castle is from this side. Take a good look in the trees, there are plenty of squirrels to amuse you.
Built on a superb site along the River Nore from 1192 to 1207 to replace an earlier wood and stone one, by the first Earl of Pembroke, and then Guillaume de Clare,three of the original corner towers are still standing. The French influence can be seen in the main garden in front of the building. Sold on to the Butler family in 1381, it remained their property until 1967, although they had already moved out and sold the contents in the '30's. Although extensions had been added and restoration done the castle gradually deteriorated. Sold for a token £50 it is now maintained by the State, and holds regular exhibitions. The gardens and park behind are open to the public freely. Opening times etc can be found on the official site below.
Kilkenny Castle - home to an ancient aristocratic Irish-Norman family who were Butlers of Ormond. THE thing to see in Kilkenny. The grounds are lovely to stroll around in too. We did the tour and it was good, but nothing a leaflet couldn't already tell you.
However the Castle is stunning, it is amazing how well it looks on the riverside after hundreds of years.
We arrived in Kilkenny for lunch but we did not have time to do a tour of the castle which was first occupied when Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, commonly known as Strongbow constructed the first castle, probably a wooden structure, in the 12th century. 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.
The best we could do was to walk around outside and a little bit inside. There are ornamental gardens on the city side of the castle, and extensive land and gardens to the front. We didn't get to see much of the interior - I understand the restored area in the central block includes a library, drawing room, and bedrooms decorated in 1830's style, as well as the Long Gallery. A suite of former servant's rooms is the Butler Art Gallery
Access for visitors with disabilities to ground floor and the gardens only
Senior / Group (20+): €4.00
Student / Child (over 6): €2.50
Oct. - Feb: Daily 09.30 - 16.30
Please note: The Ticket Desk will be closed from 1 to 2pm on Saturdays & Sundays until January 31st. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
March: Daily 09.30 - 17.00
April - May: Daily 09.30 - 17.30
June - Aug. Daily 09.00 - 17.30
Sept. Daily 09.30 - 17.30
Closed on Good Friday.
Last admission 30 minutes before closing
Average Length of Visit: 1 hour
To join a talk in the Long Gallery as part of your visit, please check with site for daily schedule.
Although built in 1195 by the first Earl of Pembroke, the Kilkenny Castle experience is dominated by the influence of the Butler family. The Butlers of Ormonde bought the castle in the late fourteenth century. They governed over the area around Kilkenny for 5 centuries and members of the family lived there up until 1935.
The portrait gallery is a beautiful room on the upper floor featuring portraits of the Butler family through the ages. A great view of the grounds can also be seen from the upper floor of the castle.
Kilkenny Castle was the first castle of many that we visited on our trip, at the time we did not realize that most of the sights included on the Heritage Card were supposed to have guided tours, they discontinued them here which sent an Italian tour guide near us into a tizzy. The Italian students she was with, however, didn't seem to care at all, most of them rushing through like there was a competition to see who could get done first.
They did give us a photocopied sheet containing information on each room, in some ways I prefer that to a guided tour as I get to take the information home with me and I can go at my own pace and didn't have to wait until an official tour started. The attached website goes into even greater detail if you want to read up before you go. No interior photos are allowed which is why I don't have any. Except that one I took before I saw the no photo sign...
Kilkenny Castle was built in the 12th century for William Marshal, 4th Earl of Pembroke and later became the principal residence for the Butler family for almost 600 years until 1971 when it was given to the people of Kilkenny for a token sum of £50.
Most of the castle was renovated in the 19th century and the room that impressed me most in the castle only dates back to the 19th century, the Picture Gallery Wing. The walls are covered in paintings but what is really striking is the painted ceiling and the cross beams with gilded animal heads.
I understand that there are gardens behind the castle but when I went to look around the backside of the castle the rain changed from a vertical to a horizontal position and we decided to look for a drier place to hang out for a bit.
Admission to the castle was included on the Heritage Card.
We walked up to the castle, it is only 10 minutes from the town centre and a fine example of how life was hundreds of years ago.
For those who wish to tour the castle there is an entry charge. We enjoyed walking through the extensive gardens and woodlands and enjoying the magnificent view over the River Nore and town.
Much of this castle is beautifully restored, with original furnishings. Before it was restored, it had fallen into a bad state. They show that on the tour. I enjoyed the largest room,which has the tallest ceiling and old, old tapestries and oil paintings of former residents hanging. When the weather was too foul to walk outside, they would stroll in this room! The guide said that once a year they would invite the common townspeople into this room, to walk and gawk. The tour is very good & was worth the 5 Euro price.
You may walk around the large grounds without charge.
In the lower level of the castle there was a small art gallery, with modern art! The small gift shop is pretty good, too., the theme being Irish castles, of course.
kilkenny castle is the top tourist attaction in kilkenny. built in the 1190's. the powerful butler family lived in the castle from the 14th century until 1935. the achitecture of the castle is medieval but over the years the butlers made some gothic revival changes. the castle is open to the public and has interesting rooms and a fine art collection.
Not exactly the medieval fortress visitors may hope to see, Kilkenny Castle is largely a reconstruction of how it looked in much later times (17th-19th centuries) before falling almost to ruins. Still, it's quite impressive and the guided tour shows how the aristocracy lived. Please note cameras aren't permitted on the tours, no exceptions. They have to be handed in to a kiosk before the tour starts and picked up again once it's over. Don't worry, it will be in safe hands.
This site of this castle has been occupied for over 1000 years. It is best known as the home of the Butlers, who owned it from the 1300’s until 1967, when it was sold to the city of Kilkenny for 50 pounds. Most of the castle has been restored to what it was like in the 17th centry. The castle is pretty impressive, especially the long room which contains paintings of the Butler family and their friends. The castle has a pretty informative tour.
The tour lasts about 45 min and costs 5.40 (2.10 w/ student ID).
One of the most magnificent castles in Ireland, Kilkenny Castle was built by the Normans who arrived in the city during the 12th century.
Set in beautiful grounds next to the river Nore, the castle is well worth a visit. And it kept me out of the pub for a bit too!
Opening Times :
October to March Daily 10.30am to 5.00pm (Closed for lunch 12.45 to 2.00pm) April - May Daily - 10.30am to 5.00pm. June -August Daily 9.30am to 7.00pm. September Daily - 10am to 6.30pm.
Adult:€ 5 Senior/group(20+): €3.50 Student/child: €2 Family: €11