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Kilkenny Castle

Built 1195, the castle remains an impressive building for it's rich history and architecture.
Medieval Castle of Kilkenny

One of the most instantly recognised buildings in Ireland, Kilkenny Castle has been an important site since Strongbow constructed the first castle, probably a wooden structure, in the 12th century.


William the Earl Marshall built the first stone castle on the site, which was completed in 1213. This was a square-shaped castle with towers at each corner; three of these original four towers survive to this day. The fourth was destroyed by Cromwell and his army when they arrived in Kilkenny on the 20th of March 1650.


The Butler family bought the Castle in 1391 and lived there until 1935. They were Earls, Marquesses and Dukes of Ormonde and lived in the castle for over five hundred years. They were a remarkable family, resilient, politically astute and faithful to the crown and to Ireland as dictated by the politics of the times. These loyalties determined their fortunes and career, and so too the fortunes of their seat.


The property was given to the Nation in 1967 by James Arthur Butler for a token sum of £50 to make it official. The castle and grounds are now managed by the Office of Public Works. The gardens and parkland adjoining the castle are open to the public and the Parade Tower is used as a conference venue.


The castle has had many changes throughout it's history (evident by the photos above) but it has always remained a bastion of Kilkenny, and one of the most impressive castles in the world.

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