St Canice Cathedral, Kilkenny
A lovely way to see a lot of Kilkenny is to do a tour of the castle and then walk from the castle north through town to the Cathedral of St. Canice. It's a pleasant walk and you get to see are the brightly painted shop fronts . . . and stop in if you like.
The actual Cathedral site was founded in the 6th century, but the current Cathedral has been built and rebuilt ever since. You can get an officiail history at their web site. History of St. Canice
You can climb the Round Tower, the oldest building in Kilkenny, and one of only two round towers in Ireland that can be climbed. You do pay a fee to visit the Cathedral unless you are attending a service. The lady at the ticket desk is most helpful and available for questions as you tour the church.
At Kilkenny, William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke and a favorite of our daughter's, built a castle and established the High-town. A new Cathedral was also constructed on the site. That was St. Canice on top of the previous church. Peg told the ticket lady about Elizabeth Chadwick’s books on William Marshall and there may be a new fan.
St. Canice Cathedral was built in the "Early English" architectural style (which was actually brought over here by the Normans.) It was "restored" in the 19th century, but I am glad that the renovators preserved the "solidity" and heritage of the stone. It feels like a very old place.
The Kilkenny Round Tower is said to date from the late 9th century, thus being considerably older the 12th century Cathedral next to it. Residents of the town and monks from the Cathedral took refuge in the tower during Viking raids. The Round Tower here is said to be one of one two such towers in Ireland which allow visitors to climb to the top. It's very typical of these structures that the entrance door is at some elevation above the ground.
This is the second "longest" Cathedral in Ireland. High windows allow in ample light. It's all very beautiful. It is part of the Church of Ireland communion.
St Canice's cathedral and round tower are part of the most ancient heritage of Kilkenny. Kilkenny come from the Gaelic, Channigh - Cainneach - Canice - Kilkenny. The cathedral stands on a site that has its roots in religion as far back as the 6th c but wasn't completed until 1285. The round tower at 30 metres is the oldest building in Kilkenny and is thought to date from the 9th c. It is also only one of two towers that visitors are allowed to climb, depending on weather, cost 3€ per adult with concessions at 2€50. No children under 12 are allowed in the tower.
St. Canice's Cathedral - the second longest in Ireland - was erected in the 13th century. The cathedral features an amazing tower that offers impressive views of the city (see my separate tip of the Tower). The cathedral evolved over the centuries and was unfortunately damaged by Oliver Cromwell's troops in the seventeenth century, but was restored in the 18th century.
Unfortunately, when I was there the cathedral had just closed. It was still nice to walk around the outside and I used the time to tour the tower.
You cant go into the watchtower but there is a very narrow staircase halfway up the tower which gives you a good view of Kilkenny and a strong lingering smell from the local brewery! Within the Cathedral (which is Church of Ireland), there are lots of old carved tombs of local gentry...if that's what you're into.
Quite a stiff little walk to get from the castle to the cathedral on foot but well worth it. The cathedral was completed in 1285.
Open: April May and September
Mondays to Saturday
10h00 - 13h00 14h00 - 16h00
14h00 - 16h00
Built in the 13th century, St. Canice's is Ireland's 2nd largest church behind St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin. Part of the Church of Ireland, there is an admission fee to enter this cathedral, unlike the Black Abbey, and we weren't really that interested that we wanted to pay to go inside.
You can also climb the 102 foot high round tower if you are willing to climb 167 stairs, I might have done that had the weather been a little nicer but as it was grey and cloudy, I passed on that as well. It's architecturally not very appealing, it looks an awful lot like a smoke stack if you ask me.
This very old cathedral was built between the years 1202 and 1285 and today is an active church with regular services throughout the week.
Next to the church is a 9th century round tower which is open to the public (entry fee). Be warned that it is a difficult climb to the top. The entrance door is situated 20 feet above the ground, the purpose being for the monks to retreat to the tower when trouble loomed and withdraw the entry ladder.
We visited the Cathedral twice during our stay as we walked past it on our way to and from the town centre.
Cathedral Entrance Fees: Adults 4 Euros, Students/Seniors 3 Euros.
Round Tower Entrance Fees: Adults 3 Euros, Students/Senior 2.5 Euros.
pictured is the tomb of the butler earl james, aka james the lame. in the 16th century james traveled to london where he and 35 of his servants were poisoned. his body was buried in england but his heart was returned to ireland and lies under this effigy.
pictured is the round tower of st. canice's cathedral. this tower dates back to 800AD. this tower collapsed during the trial of dame alice kytelerin 1332. the tower fell and demolished the choir and side chapels. it was rebult later in the 14th century. st. canice's cathedral is a very interesting place to visit when in kilkenny.
Canice's Cathedral is considered one of the top churches in Ireland. The current structure, built from 1251 to 1280, stands on the site of earlier churches. The cathedral houses numerous tombs dating back to the late 1200s. Outside the cathedral stands the Round Tower, a 100-foot tall tower with steep stairs. During my visit, a young college girl was study at the doorway and accepting money from tourists to enter the tower.
Near the Cathedral stands St. Francis Friary, now part of the Smithwicks brewery and owned by Guinness.
St Canices Cathedral dates back to the 13th century, and is a prominant landmark due to the tall tower which stands next to it. It is supposed that this tower was once a watchtower or refuge. It's well worth the exhausting climb to the top to see some of the best views of the city. Unfortunately I didn't have the chance to explore inside the cathedral itself as it was closed.
Right next to the cathedral is the 9th century round tower. For € 2, you too can climb up to get an amazing view of the city of Kilkenny and it's surrounding countryside. If I recall correctly, there are 110 steps. No, I didn't count them, I asked the incredibly friendly Irish gentleman taking my two Euros. We chatted a bit before I made my way up the ladders.
You climb up a ladder and then there's a tiny platform to make your way onto the next ladder. Once you get up the last ladder, you have to climb some stone steps. You'll probably be using the railing at the top of the tower to help pull yourself up.
If you can brave the climb up and down the ladders (please wear sensible shoes) - the views are amazing (see my Kilkenny Travelogue for more pictures from the tower).
The St Canice’s Cathedral was built in the 13the century in an early English Gothic style. Beside the cathedral, there’s an much older Round Tower, dating from some time between 8th and 10th century. For me, the church and the Round Tower together is a strange view, looks interesting!
Unfortunately the church already was closed at 6 pm, so I haven’t been inside it, but at least we could walk around it.
It’s possible to climb the Round Tower, admission is 2 Euro, I think.
Visit this 13th Century Romanesque Cathedral. I sang here once during my choir days. Unlikely as it sounds, people actually came here to hear us sing. I was 10 years old at the time, memebership of the choir was compulsary, and we practiced all year for the big night in the cathdral. It could have been the beginning of somethig big, it should have made me a star; unfortuantely there was one thing holding me back: I had a crap voice.