In the heart of the very popular county town Kilkenny, southeast of Dublin, Kilkenny Castle is an imposing steely-gray Anglo-Norman castle situated on the banks of the River Nore. The castle and grounds are open to the public, as the last resident of the castle sold the property to the people for £50 in 1967. Rather than giving it away, the sale made a binding contract so that no relative or future relative could successfully overturn it. The castle makes the town very special and its popularity, especially with tourists, makes it a great place to eat, shop and enjoy the scenery.
Designed as a square-shaped castle with round towers at each end (three of which survive), the first construction was began by Richard de Clare, the 2nd Earl of Pembroke around 1173. His son-in-law, William Marshal, 4th Earl of Pembroke built the castle as it looks today. It was completed in 1213.
The castle changed hands in 1391 when it was purchased by James Butler the 3rd Earl of Ormond or Ormonde. The Butlers, who were originally the FitzWalters, until 1185, came with the Norman Invasion and resided in the castle until its sale in 1967 by Arthur, 6th Marquess of Ormonde (1893-1971).
The castle is open year round, with guided tours in the peak season and self-guided tours in the off season. It takes about an hour to tour. If you are with a bus group, you’ll be given enough time to go on a tour, but you may have limited time in the town. There is a free video presentation in the Medieval Room. A tea room and open air eating are also great choices.
Don’t be swayed by a tour guide who tells you the decor was left in the 1950s and 60s. It has been restored and has very high ratings.
Admissions Charges 2017:
Senior (60+)/Group:(20+ Adults/Seniors): €6.00
Child (6-18)/Student: €4.00